We take a look at how a condensed schedule could benefit the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020.
The Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the baseball world eagerly await Opening Day 2020.
A glimmer of hope has satisfyingly protruded through the vast surface of sadness that has blanketed the baseball world, allowing a little bit of optimism to ooze like puss out of the giant zit that has been 2020 thus far.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported rumblings of an idea to play games in Arizona with seven-inning doubleheaders in an attempt to get the total as close to 162 games as possible.
Now, whether or not that’s how it plays out remains to be seen. This has not been confirmed and it really just seems like preliminary discussions were leaked prematurely.
However, one part that stuck out to me was the idea of running double-headers to squeeze in as many games as possible while expanding the rosters to accommodate the lack of recovery time.
Once the season finally begins (assuming it does) then things are going to look different. Both the players and the league have a financial incentive to play as many games as possible. If they do stack multiple games into one day, then the very makeup of the game will be fundamentally changed.
So, all things considered, here are a few reasons this could play right into the Rays hands.
Starting pitchers will not be rolled out every fifth day in a condensed season. Every five days could have them pitching every seven or ten games, depending on how they layout such a hypothetical format.
If that is the case, the Rays will be one of the few teams with a severe advantage. Not only do they have three potential Cy Young candidates at the top of the rotation, but they have soft-contact artists Yonny Chirinos and Ryan Yarbrough at the back end of the rotation. If they need more than five starters, well there’s a guy named Brendan McKay in Durham…I hear he’s pretty good.
Trevor Richards has logged time a solid big-league starter, and the innovators of the Opener could put that plan back into action as the Rays possess one of the most deadly bullpens in the league, in fact, they had the lowest bullpen ERA in all of baseball last year.