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Free Friday or freaky Friday? Why the Rays aren’t playing tonight

It’s a strategic move by the league with the Marlins coming to town for a two-game series.
It's likely safe to say that Rays manager Kevin Cash would rather be playing today. Not having a game on Friday is "odd," he says. (OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times)
It's likely safe to say that Rays manager Kevin Cash would rather be playing today. Not having a game on Friday is "odd," he says. (OCTAVIO JONES | Times)
Published Aug. 2, 2019

The Rays have Friday off this week, which is about as odd as it seems.

It’s part of a recent Major League Baseball scheduling change, allowing teams who are hosting two-game series — usually against division rivals or interleague opponents — to try to boost attendance by playing on Saturday and Sunday rather than the usual mid-week slots. There are five other such series on the schedule, including St. Louis at Oakland this weekend.

The Rays host the Marlins Saturday and Sunday.

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Still, it’s weird.

“That’s odd," manager Kevin Cash said. “I don’t think I’ve ever have had a Friday off."

Actually, the Rays did last year, but under unusual circumstance: They were playing the Red Sox in their home opener on a Thursday, and Friday was kept open in case there was a weather postponement. (It snowed on Friday, as it turned out, Cash noting, “we weren’t playing anyways.")

The only other time in 22 seasons the Rays were off on a Friday came in even odder situations. In 2004 they opened the season playing two regular-seasons games in Japan against the Yankees, then came out and Thursday and Friday off before resuming play with an exhibition game on Saturday, then got back to regular-season play.