In the interest of getting you as much information on the upcoming playoff series as possible, here's a collection of previews and information on the Rays and the ALDS, primarily from the Rays blogosphere.â†µ
- Mike Fast has a (VERY) exhaustive Pitchf/x breakdown for the Process Report on game one starter David Price. You should read it, or, at the very least, check out all the charts, but I found a few key things interesting. The first I knew already, but feel like repeating: Price was intended to be a starter, but came up as a key reliever for a team making a pennant run. He had poor secondary offerings, but the team was committed to making him a starter and it's worked out. This sounds familiar. The second thing is that his secondary fastball has evolved not just over his career but over this season, going from essentially a split finger to now a pitch similar to his four-seamer with more movement towards lefties. The third thing I found interesting is how smart he seems to be, both by constantly tinkering with and evolving his wide array of pitches, and by taking full advantage of a known umpire tendency to call unhittable outside pitches against lefties strikes. â†µ
- DRays Bay has a two-part round table with the Process Report discussing and previewing the series. In part one, they primarily discuss the pitching, notably Cliff Lee, who they feel is a perfect foil for the Rays style of offense based on a high walk rate. They admit it's rather strange they've beaten him every time this year. In part two, they discuss the bullpen, hitting and managers. In particular, they're confident about Maddon handling his bullpen better than Washington (what a shock), though I'm not sure they're right about Washington being enamored with Darren O'Day. Jonah Keri also labels Mitch Moreland his sleeper, and Tommy Rancel calls Vlad a potential matchup nightmare for James Shields. â†µ
- The Process Report has a couple other interesting previews from R.J. Anderson, this time looking at the Rangers. The first suggests the Rays should shift on Michael Young as they would a dead pull lefty, which Joe Maddon tends to employ against Derek Jeter. He also looks at Cliff Lee. â†µ
- Matt Klaassen had a preview of the Rays rotation for FanGraphs. Summary: not that great among playoff teams.