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Friday, September 11, 2020

Rays’ all-lefty lineup a first in MLB history

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.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 11, 2020 at 04:55 PM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays

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   1. Itchy Row Posted: September 11, 2020 at 05:53 PM (#5975830)
The most switch-hitters in a lineup is 7. The 1993 Mets did it five times.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: September 11, 2020 at 08:08 PM (#5975856)
Isn't Ji-Man Choi a switch-hitter now?
   3. puck Posted: September 11, 2020 at 09:21 PM (#5975893)
I'm nearly always amazed when something happens for the first time in baseball.

7 switch hitters seems even more amazing than all lefties.
   4. John Northey Posted: September 11, 2020 at 09:30 PM (#5975899)
Ji-Man seems to change his mind on that regularly - even mid-game.
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: September 11, 2020 at 10:09 PM (#5975913)
how many of these left-handed hitters are actually left-handed?

some of us true southpaws don't appreciate the glomming on to our culture.
   6. Brian White Posted: September 11, 2020 at 11:04 PM (#5975936)
A quick googling suggests that ~25% of MLB players are left-handed, so if lineups are randomly distributed (they aren't, but whatever) you would expect an all-lefty lineup one in every 260,000 lineups. I'd guess that a typical MLB team would runs out about ... 40 different lineups per year? Note that we're not worrying about batting order, just the identity of players in the lineup. Therefore you would expect an all-lefty lineup every 6500 MLB team-seasons. There have been about 2900 MLB team-seasons to date, so we got our all-lefty lineup earlier than expected. Great job, Tampa!
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: September 11, 2020 at 11:21 PM (#5975949)
how many of these left-handed hitters are actually left-handed?

I'm not going to do any research, but I'm going to state with some certainty that it's no more than five.

   8. Walt Davis Posted: September 12, 2020 at 12:08 AM (#5975974)
A whopping 7 of them throw RH -- the C, 2B, SS, 3B obviously; also Kiermaier, Phillips and the DH. That doesn't guarantee LHness of course.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: September 12, 2020 at 07:59 AM (#5975982)
Why do the Rays get to play with a 35-man roster?
   10. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 12, 2020 at 09:54 AM (#5975991)
#6

Also, you need to factor in that for however long platoon matchups have been a thing in MLB managing history, if the opposition started a LHP there is no chance a team would even attempt this lineup against them.

Quickly dumping the results from total games started by LHP and RHP, it looks like over the history of the game, LHP have started 28.29% of the games.
113,395 LHP starts
287,425 RHP starts

   11. A triple short of the cycle Posted: September 12, 2020 at 10:24 AM (#5975994)
Isn't this easy enough to counter by bringing in a LH reliever early on? It's not like the Sox are expecting length out of Triggs(?) He's thrown 7 innings in 3 games, including 2 starts. So he's probably only going 3 innings anyway.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: September 12, 2020 at 10:37 AM (#5975995)
Isn't this easy enough to counter by bringing in a LH reliever early on?


If the team had a lefty long man, you could. But most teams don't have any kind of long man out of the pen any longer, let alone a portsider capable of multiple innings.
   13. sotapop Posted: September 12, 2020 at 11:17 AM (#5975998)
Postscript: After scoring a total of seven runs in the previous three games, the Rays put up 11 runs with that lineup. They didn't substitute a single player all night. Granted, Red Sox pitching, but...
   14. The Mighty Quintana Posted: September 12, 2020 at 12:27 PM (#5976005)
Should have kept in the righty Triggs...once they put in the lefty Hall, the floodgates opened. Ahhh, Red Sox pitching...a cavalcade of mediocrities.
   15. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 12, 2020 at 12:36 PM (#5976008)

how many of these left-handed hitters are actually left-handed?


Receipts from the Leftorium or they don't count.
   16. BDC Posted: September 12, 2020 at 12:54 PM (#5976011)
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.


In B-Ref I found 133 starting lineups since 1901 that were entirely "Left or Both," so there have been as many as 133 times when a starter faced nine guys batting LH. Of course it's possible that there was a LHP opponent in a very few of them (if there were enough switch-hitters in the lineup to bat RH).

Almost a quarter of the 133 "Left or Both" lineups were fielded by the Whitey Herzog Cardinals, usually when John Tudor (LHB) or Joaquin Andujar (Both) were pitching.
   17. Traderdave Posted: September 12, 2020 at 01:31 PM (#5976014)
One time several years ago I was walking the dog and went by a high school game. I hung around and watched a couple innings. One of the teams batted around one inning and every player was RH. It was a Catholic high school team....
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: September 12, 2020 at 01:40 PM (#5976015)

One time several years ago I was walking the dog and went by a high school game. I hung around and watched a couple innings. One of the teams batted around one inning and every player was RH. It was a Catholic high school team....


That's not uncommon at all. Looking over my son's just-concluded high school career (which ended without a senior season, f***ing coronavirus), I think we had only one lefthanded hitting regular, who threw righthanded, and one lefthanded throwing pitcher (who also swung lefty, but didn't get my times at the plate).

There were no lefthanded at bats his junior year.
   19. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 12, 2020 at 02:42 PM (#5976020)
The same with my high school team. Our shortstop threw righthanded, but batted lefty, the only lefty in the lineup. He played golf right-handed - hitting a baseball was the only thing he did lefty.
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 12, 2020 at 04:48 PM (#5976039)
I just read Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller's book about taking over the indy league Stompers, and that was one thing they didn't account for - how right-handed heavy the league was.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: September 12, 2020 at 06:15 PM (#5976046)
#10, #16 ... that's another thing that has worked against this happening historically ... pitcher-batting and no manager picks his SP based on which side of the plate he hits. Tudor hit leftie, Andujar both. Whitey probably started that same position player lineup a lot.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: September 12, 2020 at 07:09 PM (#5976052)
Almost a quarter of the 133 "Left or Both" lineups were fielded by the Whitey Herzog Cardinals, usually when John Tudor (LHB) or Joaquin Andujar (Both) were pitching.


Yep, I thought that it was weird that "all-lefty" was a thing... I grew up with the Whitey Cardinals, and he sometimes had an 8 man switch/left lineup and Jack Clark.. to the point that it wasn't really major news.
   23. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 12, 2020 at 07:42 PM (#5976060)
I always loved that Cardinals team with so many switch hitters. The Red Sox never had switch hitters when I was a kid so they fascinated me.

I coach 10-12 year olds. It ebbs and flows but of the 96 kids in the league I’d bet about a dozen hit lefty. Years ago we happened to have five lefty fielders on our team (two of them hit righty) and it took us a bit of work but I still have a photo of the inning we played an all lefty infield with a lefty catcher. This year we didn’t have that but we were able to play an entire infield of kids named Matthew which was fun. Gave me the chance to yell “everyone named Matthew take a step to the left!”
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: September 12, 2020 at 10:13 PM (#5976103)
Just because...

Growing up, my best friend (baseball division... I had two best friends as a kid... baseball friend and star wars friend) grew up as a natural left hander, but was always taught to hit as a right hander... around 10-12 years old, we both decided to become switch hitters.... I had pretty good power for my size as a lefty but had crappy contact rate, to the point I gave it up by the time I turned 15... meanwhile he immediately took to it and just kicked ass as a contact hitter.. (he was never the power hitter his brother was... a guy who in an exhibition/whatever it is they do with high school athletes in batting practice/ at Busch Stadium hit a ball over the the fence as a 16 year old---sadly his brother, the best natural athlete I knew, never cared for sports.... just did it because he was good at it---me and his brother would have killed for that talent... or at least serious maimed someone)
   25. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 13, 2020 at 09:47 AM (#5976152)
Despite facing a lineup of 9 LHB, and using 5 relievers in the game, the Red Sox didn't use a lefty reliever.
   26. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 13, 2020 at 09:51 AM (#5976153)
Despite facing a lineup of 9 LHB, and using 5 relievers in the game, the Red Sox didn't use a lefty reliever.


Actually, the first reliever they used was a lefty (Matt Hall). He pitched poorly (2.1 IP 6 hits, 4 runs, took the loss) then got optioned to the minors after the game.
   27. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: September 13, 2020 at 10:36 AM (#5976157)
Almost a quarter of the 133 "Left or Both" lineups were fielded by the Whitey Herzog Cardinals, usually when John Tudor (LHB) or Joaquin Andujar (Both) were pitching.

That brings up another question! How common is a switch-hitting pitcher? (or "was", if the universal DH is around forever)

I found an article from 2015 in which the only three current ones were Carlos Zambrano, Wandy Rodriguez and Kris Medlen.

Looks like it also applies to Drew Storen, Bryan Shaw, Kenley Jansen, Dylan Bundy and Lance Lynn. The first four of those having 2, 0, 8 and 10 career MLB at-bats. Lance Lynn has quite a few but is a very bad hitter.
   28. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: September 13, 2020 at 10:55 AM (#5976159)
speaking of handedness. The White Sox are 16-16 vs RHP and 13-0 vs LHP
   29. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 13, 2020 at 02:11 PM (#5976178)
Actually, the first reliever they used was a lefty

d'oh, thanks
   30. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 13, 2020 at 02:47 PM (#5976182)
Jansen began his pro career as a catcher, which probably explains the switch hitting.
   31. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 13, 2020 at 06:00 PM (#5976232)
Wasn’t Jansen actually the starting catcher for the Dutch at the WBC one year?

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