Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash is pushing all the right buttons this season, as his team is atop the AL East despite having the third-lowest payroll in baseball.
His latest stroke of genius was to field a team of nine true left-handed batters against the Red Sox on Friday night. How unusual is that? In another sign that this baseball isn’t quite normal, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it hasn’t happened since 1901.
“When (bench coach) Jerry Narron gave me the lineup, I looked at it and it looked wrong to me,” Boston manager Ron Roenicke said. “So, everything was in red (indicating a lefty hitter). So I don’t even know how often that thing has happened. I don’t know really the history of that or when’s the last time that’s happened. Pretty interesting though.”
While some teams have fielded nine left-handed hitters since 1901, they have all included at least one switch-hitter, according to Elias.
Right-handed starter Andrew Triggs was pulled after a scoreless first in which he gave up a hit and a walk, although Roenicke said it was due to a pinched nerve in his back.
Roenicke took the opportunity to counter with lefty Matt Hall, but it didn’t work as Tampa rocked him for four runs in 2.1 innings. Yoshi Tsutsugo hit homered off Hall, while Nate Lowe hit two and drove in four runs for the Rays, who improved to 29-16 with the 11-1 victory.
Cash said right-handed shortstop Willy Adames will return to the lineup on Saturday. Joey Wendle started in his place on Friday, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.