Game #87 Lineups and Outlook
Once again we enter the breach to face certain doom for the chance, however minuscule, that some good will come from it. We are the weary warriors. We are the 2016 Rays.
No Hanley Ramirez today due to fouling a ball off his shin, which is probably a good thing as I have him with a first plate appearance wOBA expectation of .374 against Matt Moore. This takes their best bat out of the lineup for the day leaving a still good top, but a less good middle and bottom of the order. New addition Aaron Hill gets the start for the second straight day, but he’s not alone as I’ll touch on in a sec. The Rays don’t look especially strong against Poochie with Big Swingin’ or Brad Miller as the best matchups for the Rays. If the Rays want to win it’s going to take solid contributions from these two guys and the Longo/Logan portion of the top needs to keep carrying this team. The model sees it closer than the gamblers, but the model doesn’t factor bullpens so you can probably knock a notch or two back towards the Red Sox. It’s pretty tough to bet on the Rays right now in any sort of scenario where they need to win.
The big change here is that Craig Kimbrel is going to miss 6-9 weeks due to knee surgery. My guess is that it’s something similar to what Jake McGee went through, and continues to struggle with to this day. Jake missed time, but when he was able to get on the field his stuff didn’t really suffer. This is a blow to the Red Sox, make no bones about it. To patch the hole they traded some more of the best prospects in the history of the game to get Brad Ziegler from the Diamondback. Ziegler isn’t going to light up the radar gun like Kimbrel, but he has mastered coming from a very tough angle to get tons and tons of grounders. He’s unorthodox, but he gets it done. He will be tough for both righties and lefties despite the side-armish angle with which he slings the ball.