The Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in the American League. They also just made history by starting all pure lefties. This comes right after a loss to the Boston Red Sox in the first game of their series. This is the first time this has happened in Major League Baseball in the modern era. It worked out against the bottom of the conference Boston Red Sox, winning 11-1 in their second game on Friday, Sept. 11. In the East Division, the Rays have a 3.5 game lead over the Blue Jays with 15 games left to play. Tampa is on a roll of confidence, going for more than a month without consecutive losses.
Before the game on Friday, Tampa was not feeling it from the offense. In the last nine games, they were averaging 3.7 runs per game and batting at .192 for all of September. In August, Tampa Bay Rays were averaging 5.3 runs per game and an OPS of .798, which explains why they’re on top of their conference. One reason for the cold streak could be the loss of Yandy Díaz, who is suffering from an injury in the right hamstring, and the loss of Mike Zunino, who’s injury is on the left oblique. Díaz does lead the team with a .428 on-base percentage.
“There’s no reason to start stressing and start freaking out,” said second baseman Brandon Lowe while interviewed by Fox Sports Florida. “It’s been a couple of games that have been bad, but I think we have proven that we’re not going to keep losing ball games.”
He was right; they rediscovered the offense that has been carrying them for most of the season. Nate Lowe hit two home runs and brought in four runs Friday night. With pitcher Blake Snell holding the Red Sox scoreless for five innings. He only gave up five hits and two walks and struck out five. Yoshi Tsutsugo also hit a home run, which stopped his three-game skid. The Rays entered the game trailing Oakland by percentage points for the American League’s best record; they come on top for now with that win.
The Rays manager stacked his lineup with pure lefties to counterattack right-hander, Andrew Triggs, making his second professional start. This helped them score 11 runs with 12 hits at Tropicana Field. They were the most scored by the Rays since they scored 12 against the Miami Marlins on Sunday, Aug. 30. Since the Blue Jays lost to the Mets 18-1, Tampa holds a 4.5 game lead in the American League East with 15 games left.
“We had a good time with it,” Lowe said. According to Rays manager Kevin Cash, the pure left lineup worked. He said they would not be repeating the all-left lineup for their next game. “Seeing what the offense can do, that was exciting,” Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Snell said on Fox Sports Florida.
When Boston’s coach, Roenicke, saw Ray’s lineup before the game, he thought there was some typo. He couldn’t believe what the Rays were doing.