The Tampa Bay Rays decided their hitters were taking too many pitches, so they instructed them to become more aggressive in August with impressive results.
Tampa Bay averaged 3.74 pitches per plate appearance, its lowest monthly mark of the season, and produced a .781 OPS, fifth highest in the majors in the month.
The trend has continued in six September games — the Rays are averaging 3.67 pitches per plate appearance, and their .841 OPS is ninth in the majors.
"Let's get 'em early (in counts)," Kevin Cash said. "(Pitchers) have such good stuff, they're so powerful, why would you even want to hit with two strikes anymore?"
The manager continued, "We're not looking to walk. We want guys to put themselves in position to impact the ball, hit it hard. More times than not, that comes in hitter-advantage counts: 1-0, 2-0. We figured out that to get in those counts, you have to be aggressive (early) and get pitchers out of the zone."