Tampa Bay Rays and Baseball Innovation
By Michael Emdeyar
Day two of the Sergio Romo starting experience continues today in Anaheim. I, for one, love the idea and am pleasantly surprised at the results from last night. Now, the Tampa Bay Rays are going to try it again.
The Angels sent out three of their best hitters in Zack Cozart, Mike Trout and Justin Upton. Romo comes out and strikes out the side. Thanks for coming, night over. First thought is that the decision immediately got into the heads of the Angels. Next thought is, will Mike Scioscia make changes to his starting lineup to get off to a different start today? Whatever the case and whatever the result, opponents must start thinking about the Rays differently.
When opposing managers must start making changes because of the innovative things the Rays are doing, it’s a win for the Rays. Several years ago, it seemed that Joe Maddon was on the early side of defensive shifts. Now, just about everybody is doing it.
Give Kevin Cash and the Rays organization credit for again trying something different. There’s no doubt that the Rays must be different to compete. They will never have the payroll as many other teams in baseball. But, they seem to have taken an aggressive approach to numbers. Statistics. And, that cannot be overlooked.
Can you imagine when the Rays get to the point that they are starting pitchers or making lineups based on the umpire behind home plate? I’ll guess they are already doing that. They probably have loaded hard drives of data on what they expect to happen when Joe West or Fieldin Culbreth is behind the plate. I’d love to see the pace of Ryan Yarbrough coupled with an umpire who likes to keep things moving. That would drive opposing batters nuts.
I’m waiting for the game where Alex Colome starts and Chris Archer pitches the final four innings to shut out the Red Sox or Yankees. That will be fun.