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Maddon changes lineup (and gets results)



[Update: Carlos Pena, in an 0-for-22 slump since the American League Championship Series, doubled and scored the Rays' first run and then, with the rain pounding down, singled in the tying run. Evan Longoria, 0-for-18 since the ALCS, singled in Pena.]

LF Carl Crawford was moved up to second in the lineup as manager Joe Maddon tries to "unfreeze" slumping 1B Carlos Pena and 3B Evan Longoria by dropping them down a slot to fourth and fifth in the order. Maddon also opted to start Rocco Baldelli in rightfield, saying "Rocco can do something special.''

With Pena and Longoria a combined 0-for-29, Maddon wanted to do something - but nothing too dramatic - to change the look of the lineup. "I just wanted to tweak it a click,'' Maddon said. "See if Carl can get up there and set it up a bit and just unfreeze Longo and Carlos a bit. It's just a minor adjustment, we'll see if it has any impact. I just wanted to do something, just to clear their minds a little bit, more than anything it was more to give them a different outlook on the day. That's all. They're bascially still hitting in their same order one slot down. Carl's been swinging the bat well, he's a familiar No. 2 hitter. B.J. (Upton) looks like he's got his RBI swing back together. ... I was just trying to give them a different perspective.''

Maddon also said he did not necessarily buy the explanation by Phillies Game 4 pitcher Joe Blanton that the dark splotch on his cap was just normal dirt. "I don't think so,'' Maddon said. "That's very unusual.''

Maddon had started Ben Zobrist twice in the first four games in rightfield, but said he wanted to give Baldelli, who didn't start the opener against Philadelphia LHP Cole Hamels, a chance. "Ben's done a nice job. I just wanted to get Rocco out there,'' Maddon said. "I know he's ready to play. Rocco can do something special, I believe. Not that the other guys can't. But Rocco is capable of doing something extraordinary so I just wanted to get him out there.''

The lineup looks like this:
Iwamura, 2b
Crawford, lf
Upton, cf
Pena, 1b
Longoria, 3b
Navarro, c
Baldelli, rf
Bartlett, ss
Kazmir, p

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:43am]


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