It’s official, Hideki Matsui is officially a Ray. Not only will join the Rays tonight at Tropicana Field, but he’ll be in the lineup in left field, batting sixth behind Luke Scott.
Matsui offers the Rays both outfield and bench depth. A lot has been made about whether there really is a role for Matsui on the roster. If you recall, Maddon benched Scott, Pena, and Joyce yesterday, partially because a very good lefty was on the hill. That got me thinking, if Maddon wasn’t willing to put their DH in the game because of the left-on-left match-up, what are Matsui’s numbers against lefties? Also, how do his compare to Luke Scott? Furthermore, if Matsui is going to offer the Rays a second DH bat, and bench depth, how do his numbers at DH compare to Scott? Let’s see, shall we?
Hideki Matsui has posted a career .285 BA/.347 OBP/.461 SLG/.808 OPS line against lefties, with 55 home runs, and 247 RBI. Matsui has struck out 226 times.
As a pinch hitter, Matsui has posted a career .300 BA/.400 OBP/.425 SLG/.825 OPS line, with one home run, and eight RBI. Matsui has struck out 10 times in 40 at bats.
On the other hand, Luke Scott has posted a career .232 BA/.310 OBP/.449 SLG/.759 OPS line against lefties, with 31 home runs, and 92 RBI. Scott has struck out 155 times.
As a pinch hitter, Luke Scott has posted a career .262 BA/.341 OBP/.496 SLG/.837 OPS line, with 10 home runs, and 11 RBI. Scott has struck out 23 times in 84 at bats.
In short, Matsui has been much more productive against left handed pitchers throughout the course of his career. However, Scott has been a better career pinch hitter. I’d point out, however, that he’s seen twice as many at bats as a pinch hitter. Nevertheless, by virtue of Matsui being a left handed hitter that’s adept to hitting left handed pitching, not to mention that he was, presumably, acquired on the cheap, I’d say that he has a place on this team…especially when facing the Chris Sale’s of the world. Plus, we don;t have to see Vogt on the bench any time soon. The starting lineup is at the very bottom.
We knew what Chris Sale was capable of, and boy o’ boy, did we ever see it in spades yesterday. Hats off to Chris Sale for posting a 7.1 IP/3 H/1 ER/2 BB/15 K (a record by any team at the Trop) line. As much as I hate seeing a Rays loss, I’m not as upset about the outcome as I could be. Why? I’m a huge fan of good pitching, and he was absolutely spectacular. Sale, by and far, dominated Tampa Bay today; he kept the ball down inducing ground out after ground out. Dare I say that I’m surprised that the Rays even got three hits?
For me, the biggest rub isn’t that the Rays got another tally in the “L” column. That will happen. It’s that Tampa Bay couldn’t support an outstanding start by Matt Moore. If ever there was a time that a loss felt unfair, it’s now. Moore was almost as spectacular as Sale, posting a 7 IP/4 H/2 ER/1 BB/10 K gem. I say almost because the game literally came down to a misplaced, middle to inside pitch left in the zone to Adam Dunn (see the pitch f/x) with one on and one out. Had he located that pitch, we could be talking about a 1-0 Rays win. Nevertheless, the White Sox are the hottest team in baseball, and if anything, this game goes to show that you cannot make a mistake against this team.
Today is another day. Big Game James Shields (6-2, 3.63 ERA), coming off a huge 7.0 IP/2 ER non-decision in his last start against Blue Jays the Jays will take on Philip Humber (1-2, 5.80 ERA, 4.52 FIP). Humber is coming off of a 4.1 IP/6 H/5 ER/3 BB/4 K/1 HR outing against the Twinkies. Averaging just over five innings of work per start and a 2:1 K/BB ratio, Humber has been rather hit or miss in 2012. He has given up five or more runs in three of his eight starts this season, including the aforementioned game against the Twins where he gave up five earned runs.
Why should we like Humber? Beside the fact that he’s a sinker-baller (d’oh) which is disconcerting, especially after yesterday, he tends to leave the ball up in the zone and over the plate.
Rays starting lineup 5/29/12: