ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays hitters saw just 112 pitches Wednesday night and 113 the night before, which turned into losses to the Yankees and were in stark contrast to the 232 pitches the team saw in Monday night's 15-5 win over New York.
Rays manager Joe Maddon is a proponent of working counts, taking the walks and have a discerning eye at the plate, so the past two nights were not textbook nights at the plate for the Rays.
"One of the things we keep track of is how many times we see 145 pitches in a nine-inning game, what our winning percentage is like," Maddon said. "And that would also speak to 130 in an eight-inning game where we win at home, and our winning percentage exceeds 70 percent when we can do that. I would imagine that's pretty much standard throughout the industry. But when you're kept below that number of pitches, it's normally not working out well for you."
So while the low number of pitches seen by Rays hitters on Tuesday and Wednesday could have been seen as a disturbing trend, Rays hitters and Maddon felt otherwise.
"We just go by what the pitcher is doing," Carl Crawford said. "If he's throwing balls and strikes that day, be patient and wait for a pitch to hit. If a guy's throwing strikes, you know to be aggressive. It all depends on how the pitcher is pitching that day. It just all depends on who is pitching."
A.J. Burnett started for the Yankees on Tuesday and Andy Pettitte on Wednesday, and both looked sharp.
"I think our team is aggressive but selective," B.J. Upton said. "If you throw a ball in the zone, we'll swing at it. I just think maybe the last two days, their guys were throwing maybe a couple of more balls across the plate.
"Burnett threw a good game and Pettitte mixed up his pitches well, but they probably threw more pitches to hit [than some of the other guys the Rays have faced]."
Maddon said the danger comes when his lineup is expanding the strike zone.
"Sometimes you're just swinging at bad pitches," Maddon said. "I thought maybe [Tuesday night] Burnett caused us to expand with his breaking ball a little bit. But overall we have patient hitters. Our guys do see pitches -- two anomaly nights the way I see it. But, yeah, when we don't see enough pitches, normally we don't score enough runs."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.