Todd Walker

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The Pitching Staff of the Future

The Team With the Three-Man Rotation - WSJ                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Team With the Three-Man Rotation

The Tampa Bay Rays have embarked on an experiment that is raising eyebrows across baseball: relying exclusively on relievers during a couple of games each week 


By                   Jared Diamond                   

  • April 11, 2018 9:48 a.m. ET     

  The Tampa Bay Rays recognize that if they ever expect to compete with the giants in their division, they must operate differently than the rest of the baseball world. They will never possess the financial resources to outspend the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, leaving them only one option: to outmaneuver them. 

“If we occupy the wake of both the Yankees and Boston and our behavior is aligned with theirs, we’re never going to step out and pass them—ever,” one high-ranking Rays official said. “Never, ever, ever will we ever step out and pass them short of some incredible run of luck and good fortune.”

So this season, the Rays have embarked on an experiment that is raising eyebrows across the game: They opened 2018 not with five starting pitchers, the industry standard since the 1970s, but with just three, relying exclusively on relievers the other two days. Though they will likely add a fourth starter to the mix soon, the Rays intend to stick with the strategy for the foreseeable future.

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