Rays' all-lefty lineup a first in MLB history

September 11th, 2020

The Rays are making baseball history on Friday night.

With Tampa Bay set to face the Red Sox and right-handed pitcher Andrew Triggs at Tropicana Field, manager Kevin Cash filled his lineup card with nine left-handed batters. This marks the first time in Major League history -- going back to at least 1901 -- in which a team has started nine lefties in the same game.

The previous record for starting left-handed batters was eight, which had been done 26 times. The most recent was by these same Rays, against the Marlins on Sept. 5. The only right-handed batter in the lineup that day was right fielder Hunter Renfroe, but on Friday, it was lefty Brett Phillips getting the start in right.

Of course, teams have started nine batters who either were left-handed or switch-hitters (therefore batting lefty against a right-handed pitcher). But this is the first time for a lineup full of strictly left-handers.

It should also be noted that while the Rays do not officially have any switch-hitters starting in this game, first baseman Ji-Man Choi did take 12 plate appearances from the right side of the plate earlier this season. He even hit a home run, but that experiment seems over for now. He has not batted righty since Aug. 14.

“We knew we were left-handed heavy coming into the season and we’ve added a couple of left-handed hitters,” Cash said. “Just thinking about it last night, we don’t know Triggs very well. We have him as a pretty big split guy. We’re not even sure how deep he’ll go in the game, but we know we have plenty of right-handers [so] that if they decide to go left-handed at certain points, we have options.”