Rays Make MLB History by Starting 9 Left-Handed Batters Against Red Sox

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2020

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash speaks at a news conference before baseball practice in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. The Rays are scheduled to face the Oakland Athletics in an American League wild-card game Wednesday, Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Rays are no strangers to thinking outside the box, so their lineup against the Boston Red Sox on Friday was perfectly in keeping with their approach.

Rays manager Kevin Cash went with nine left-handers:

Per ESPN Stats & Info (via ESPN.com), it was the first time in modern MLB history a team started nine pure lefties.

MLB.com's Andrew Simon noted teams have used eight left-handed hitters 26 times—with the Rays being the most recent club to do so Saturday against the Miami Marlins.

Normally when a manager makes a move like this, it's to gain a platoon advantage against the opposing team's starter. Right-hander Andrew Triggs has pitched just 6.1 innings this season, but he's been far more effective against lefties (.307 OPS in 17 plate appearances) than righties (1.811 in 13).

In his career, Triggs has also been better against lefties (.233/.309/.380 slash line in 337 plate appearances) than right-handers (.269/.325/.440 in 396).

The Rays (28-16) happen to have a lot of talented left-handers. They rank fifth in the AL with 4.9 runs per game.

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