Are the Rays Revolutionizing Pitching Rotations—or Just Desperate?
Facing a raft of injuries, Tampa Bay is radically rethinking starting pitching and game management.
Before last weekend, Tampa Bay Rays reliever Sergio Romo had never started an MLB game. Thanks to some highly unusual moves by manager Kevin Cash, Romo had made the first two starts of his major league career by Sunday night.
Romo pitched the first inning on Saturday and threw into the second on Sunday, becoming the first pitcher to start on consecutive days after pitching at least one inning the previous day since Steve McCatty did it for the Oakland A’s in 1980.
With three starting pitchers on the disabled list with injuries, the Rays have been forced to think of creative ways to use their pitchers. As a result, Rays manager Cash has routinely used a slate of short-appearance relievers to pitch an entire game instead of utilizing a starter for the first half and then turning to the bullpen.
While that has generally worked for the Rays this season, it remains unlikely MLB teams will convert to a full rotation of Romo-type starters unless they are forced to. Tampa Bay’s strategy is certainly different, but that doesn’t necessarily make it better.
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