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Big League Stew

10 Numbers for the ALDS: Rays vs. Rangers

Alex Remington
Big League Stew

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As the start of the postseason approaches, Big League Stew's Alex Remington will take a look at the statistics that might make a difference in each series. First up is the first-round rematch between the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers, which begins Friday.

1.1 The average number of homers per nine innings given up by Rangers pitching, tied for second-most in the American League. The Rays are hardly the most homer-happy team in the playoffs, with just 172 homers as a team, compared to 210 for the Rangers (and 222 for the Yankees), but the Rangers can't afford their pitchers to give up too many Dan Johnson moments.

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61 percent The quality start percentage for both the Rays and the Rangers, tied for the third-best in baseball, behind only the Phillies and Giants. {YSP:MORE}

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6.1 The number of at-bats per strikeout for the Rangers, making them the hardest team to strike out in all of baseball. That's all the more impressive considering that they had the second-most homers in all of baseball: You don't often see a team loaded with high-contact sluggers. Despite all those longballs, the Rangers had only one hitter in their lineup with more than 100 strikeouts. By comparison with the other playoff teams, the Brewers had four such hitters; the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Tigers and Rays had three; the Phillies had two. The Cardinals actually had none.

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$42 million The Tampa Bay Rays' payroll, second-lowest in baseball, less than half of what the $92 million Rangers cost, and about one-fifth the size of the Yankees' approximately $200 million payroll. The Rays' highest-paid player on the roster is Johnny Damon, signed to a one-year, $5.25 million contract.

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34 percent The percentage of Ranger baserunners who came around to score in the regular season, the best percentage in baseball. An efficient offense is especially crucial in the playoffs, where getting runners aboard and getting them home can be a lot more difficult.

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.281 The Tampa Bay Rays' secondary average, third-best in all of baseball behind the Yankees and Red Sox. Secondary average is a Bill James stat that basically measures an offense that does all the little things right: It measures extra-base hits, walks and net stolen bases (SB minus CS), essentially providing a measure of how good a player or team was at taking bases by any means other than hitting singles.

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126 The number of  homers the Rangers hit at home. They're actually the best-hitting home team in baseball. They lead all major-league teams in home HRs, runs, total bases and OPS. Outside of Arlington, they're a bit more ordinary. But they say that everything is bigger in Texas, and that's certainly true for the Rangers' offense.

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67,140,000 The approximate number of how many more pages Eva Longoria (68,800,000) has on the web than Evan Longoria (1,660,000), despite the fact that Evan Longoria had maybe the best last day of the season that any of us has ever seen — four RBIs and a wild-card-winning walk-off homer. Longo is in his fourth major-league season, and he's already a three-time All-Star who has received MVP votes in every single season he's played, and at age 25, he's arguably the best third baseman in all of baseball. And he's clearly STILL underrated. "Desperate Housewives" never came back from a 7-0 deficit in the eighth inning to beat the Yankees, is all I'm saying.

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12.4 percent Adrian Beltre's extra-base hit rate, best in the majors. After his monster year last year, the Rangers signed Beltre to a multi-year deal and displaced Michael Young. But Beltre was fantastic this year, combining with Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Mike Napoli and Michael Young to form the most balanced attack that the Rangers have had in years. And Beltre clearly has enjoyed hitting in the Ballpark in Arlington, where he was able to rap out 33 doubles and 32 homers despite playing just 124 games. He was named AL Player of the Month in September after hitting 12 homers and 29 RBIs in 24 games in September. If the Rangers manage to push through, he'll be a big reason why.

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.281 The Rays' Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP), tied for the second-lowest in baseball. The Rays had a low team batting average, just .244, tied for sixth-worst in the majors, but they had an above-average offense, largely because of that high secondary average mentioned above.

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