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Rays lineup includes Johnson, Shoppach



UPDATE, 7:34: Rays officials expect loudest-ever crowd at Trop based on expanded capacity, later start time and idea that almost all are Rays fans, not like Red Sox fans in "08 ALCS or more sedate corporate crowd in "08 World Series.

UPDATE, 4:51: Maddon said the keys to victory tonight will be pitching well and playing good defense - and of course finding a wayu to score at least a few runs.

UPDATE, 4:42: Matt Garza and James Shields will be in the bullpen tonight for the Rays in addition to the usual crew, plus Jeff Niemann as well.

UPDATE, 4:30: Manager Joe Maddon brought in "hitting" tacos from Rojo Taco in downtown Tampa to help inspire squad. ... Maddon said his lineup decisions were based primarily on three things: Johnson's ability to hit lefthanders, preferring B.J. Upton hitting behind Carlos Pena at sixth (and thus Ben Zobrist second rather than Upton) and Shoppach over John Jaso as much to keep Shoppach catching Price. 

DEVELOPING: Manager Joe Maddon went mostly right-handed in his lineup tonight, but did opt for lefty Dan Johnson at DH over Willy Aybar. Kelly Shoppach will be the catcher.

Maddon had said on Monday that he likely would go back to his righthanders, such as Shoppach and 2B Sean Rodriguez, but hadn't decided on the DH. Part of that was Johnson's ability to work tough at-bats even against lefty pitchers, such as Texas' Cliff Lee. And also that Maddon likes the flexibility of having the switch-hitting Aybar on the bench for a pinch-hit opportunity. In Game 1, the Rays used Rocco Baldelli, but he is no longer on the active roster.

Here is the full lineup:
Bartlett ss
Zobrist rf
Crawford lf
Longoria 3b
Pena 1b
Upton cf
Johnson dh
Shoppach c
Rodriguez 2b
Price p

The basic decisions were Shoppach over rookie lefty John Jaso, and Rodriguez at second over Matt Joyce in right.

Here are some of the relevant stats:

Shoppach in the series: 0-for-6 with 3 Ks

Shoppach vs. lefties during season: .261 avg., .369 on-base percentage
Jaso vs. lefites during season: .191, .333 OBP

Shoppach vs. Lee, career: 0-for-6, 3 Ks

Johnson vs. lefties during season: .235, .391 OBP
Aybar vs. lefties during season: .246, .305 OBP

Johnson vs. Lee, career: 1-for-6
Aybar vs. Lee, career: 4-for-12

Rodriguez vs. lefties during season: .292, .375 OBP
Joyce vs. lefties during season: .080, .143 OBP

The Rangers made one change in their lineup from Game 1, starting Mitch Moreland at first instead of Jorge Cantu.

Here is the Texas lineup:
Andrus ss
Young 3b
Hamilton cf
Guerrero DH,
Cruz lf
Kinsler 2b
Francoeur rf
Molina c
Moreland 1b
Lee p


[Last modified: Thursday, November 11, 2010 12:15am]


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