Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rules give Rays no say in playing doubleheader

BOSTON — The Rays had their reasons for not wanting to make up Wednesday's rainout as part of a split doubleheader today, likely including how they've been struggling, losing six of seven with their pitching staff tattered.

And the Red Sox wanted to do exactly that, likely for precisely the same reason, though not having a place to put the Dustin Pedroia bobbleheads they had planned to give out Wednesday night might have been a factor.

And after several hours of confusion and conversation with the players union and Major League Baseball officials, the Red Sox prevailed, and the teams will play two, at 1:05 and 7:10.

Rays acting player rep Ben Zobrist said that their objections — which officially included a questionable weather forecast for today, and several other makeup possibilities during May and September visits — didn't matter.

In short, the Rays were told by MLB that the Red Sox (and Cubs) have exceptions to the standard rules in the Basic Agreement "to basically exercise their own right to do what they want to do."

And since the Red Sox wanted to play a split doubleheader — and had already issued a press release with details and put tickets on sale online hours before the Rays were told by MLB it was official — that's what will happen.

"Yeah, it's frustrating," Zobrist said. "It's frustrating that the weather is bad, it's probably not going to be much better (today) from what we're looking at.

"And based upon our wishes, that it didn't matter what we said, that's frustrating. That we didn't have any say in it. Besides that, it won't be frustrating if we win two games (today)."

PITCHING IN: Concerned rain could disrupt the matinee, the Rays will have Wednesday starter RHP Chris Archer, whom they expect to work deep, pitch the night game. LHP Cesar Ramos gets the matinee. … Under MLB rules, both teams can add a 26th man for the second game; expect the Rays to bring up a reliever, RHP Brad Boxberger or LHP Jeff Beliveau.

MEDICAL MATTERS: RHP Alex Cobb threw for the first time off a mound at the Trop, 20 fastballs with no issues. … Triple-A LHP C.J. Riefenhauser is on the Durham DL with an oblique strain.

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