Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Rays' youthful staff breaks old record
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Tampa Bay Rays snapped one of baseball's oldest records Wednesday when they played their 705th consecutive game with a starting pitcher younger than 30 years old.
James Shields got the start at Oakland as the Rays broke the previous mark set by the Washington Senators from 1913-17. Shields also pitched the first game of the streak on May 25, 2007.
"I think it's pretty awesome," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "There's plenty of organizations that could go out and play that many games with starting pitchers less than 30 years of age. But to go out there and play that many games with pitchers less than 30 and win as well as we have, that's what makes us different."
The Rays last started a pitcher 30 or older on May 24, 2007, when Jae Sao took the mound on his 30th birthday.
Since then, small-market Tampa Bay has featured a youthful rotation.
"We've done a good job of throwing some young guys out there and staying healthy," said left-hander David Price, a 19-game winner in 2010 who has made 77 starts during the streak. "We know the talent of our young pitchers in the minor leagues, so whenever they come up here we expect them to take the ball and throw it well."
Only 14 pitchers have been used during the streak, two of whom made only one start apiece.
Shields took a 9-8 record into the game against the A's, which marked his 143rd start during the streak.