Rays relief sets MLB record for most innings

September 2nd, 2018

CLEVELAND -- , and helped the Tampa Bay Rays make Major League history on Saturday night.

The trio pitched 2 1/3 innings out of the bullpen in a 5-3 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field, giving the Rays an MLB single-season team record of 658 2/3 relief innings.

Tampa Bay's innovative "opener" strategy of starting relievers -- and removing them very early in games -- is largely to credit for the mark, which will continue to grow with four weeks remaining in the campaign.

"It does give us a little more leeway with guys that come in after the opener," Roe said. "Honestly, I have no idea if it will become standard around baseball, but it could, because we've had success doing it."

There is no doubt about the latter, given the Rays' 72-63 record in what by all rights should have been a rebuilding year.

Rookie leads the American League with 96 relief frames and is 16th with 60, despite being optioned to Triple-A Durham on Aug. 4. Alvarado, and Roe also have topped 40 innings out of the 'pen.

When Minnesota visited Cleveland earlier in the week, manager Paul Molitor said he was so intrigued by the concept that the Twins will use it multiple times in September.

"I don't revolutionize anything," Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said, scoffing at the suggestion. "I would imagine we would have to break this record with the way we've done some things."