Daily Process: Offense Stays Rolling, Pummels Blackburn | The Process Report

Daily Process: Offense Stays Rolling, Pummels Blackburn

Today’s game marked the 15th major league start in Jeremy Hellickson’s career and the third time he faced the Twins. While I acknowledge the absolute uselessness of using the OPS from two previous starts in serious analysis, I will point out that Hellickson’s numbers versus the Twins through his first two ventures includes his second-lowest OPS against any team (only the Tigers lay below) and thus a nice way to start the narrative.

With that established, Hellickson didn’t quite put a weak Twins offering into a vice, but he came close. His final line included 6 1/3 innings, six hits, a homer, two earned runs (three total), a walk, and three strikeouts. Hellickson glided through the early frames before allowing a home run to Michael Cuddyer. It would be fair to suggest Hellickson struggled at times with his fastball control, but that’s understandable given the weather.

Hellickson tossed a season-high 107 pitches on the afternoon.

As for the offense, well, there was a lot of it. Let’s work through based on win probability added:

Casey Kotchman – Hit his first home run as a Ray. Peter Hjort of the great Capitol Avenue Club advised me that when Kotch gets one, he really gets it. He really got it today. Later on, Kotchman also lined a ball into left field. Easily the best offensive showing for Kotchman in his Rays career.

Ben Zobrist – Hit a homer and two doubles, also gets credit for eight runs batted in—thus giving him the American League lead and the single-game franchise record. Zobrist seems to alternate between driving the ball and driving the ball into the ground. Right now? Volcano hot.

B.J. Upton – Three singles and also managed two walks. One ball in particular was hit deep into right field, but a bad carom (for Upton) resulted in it being the longest single of the afternoon.

Johnny Damon – If Damon can get a hit tonight, then he could tie the franchise hit-streak record on Sunday. Remember: This is happening with a broken finger.

Matt Joyce – I think Joyce is the Rays best hitter without Evan Longoria and today should pad the stats. Five plate appearances through the first eight innings and five times on base. Two walks and three singles—including one on a hit-and-run where Joyce hit a low looper that landed in the area the shortstop vacated to cover the bag.

You can also talk about Reid Brignac’s liner single, Sean Rodriguez’s double, or countless other aspects of the offensive attack today, but frankly I’m a bit exhausted from watching. With or without Evan Longoria, there is nothing wrong with this lineup against right-handed pitchers.

Oh, and as a friendly remember: The Twins gave Nick Blackburn an extension with more guaranteed money than the Rays gave to James Shields. Life ain’t fair.

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