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Rays, Red Sox, rain as Game 5 nears



UPDATE, 5:15 The Rays will go back to the same lineup they used in Game 1 of the ALCS against Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka, meaning Gabe Gross will be in rightfield and Rocco Baldelli will remain on the bench. Maddon had said Wednesday he was considering starting Baldelli but decided to stick with Gross, who provides better defense and has more experience about Dice-K.

Otherwise, Maddon said he still felt very good about the decision to start Scott Kazmir tonight, has been surprised how well LF Carl Crawford has done at the plate since returning to the lineup, and he has been impressed with the Phillies, who won the NL pennant.

When asked about the Red Sox talking about throwing more inside tonight and trying to move the feet of some Rays hitters to make them less comfortable, Maddon said he would not be surprised and it is part of the game.

"I think anytime a team, a pitching staff, gives up a lot of hits or a lot of runs almost every time you're going to hear that group talk about not pitching inside enough or moving somebody's feet,'' Maddon said. "We have the same rights.''

The full lineup:
Iwamura, 2b
Upton, cf
Pena, 1b
Longoria, 3b
Crawford, lf
Floyd, dh
Navarro, c
Gross, rf
Bartlett, ss
Kazmir, p

UPDATE, 4:40 The tarp has come off the field and the grounds crew is setting up for batting practice, which is a good sign that the forecast may have improved.

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The tarp is on the field and showers are forecast for much of the afternoon and evening as the Rays and Red Sox are getting ready for Game 5 of the ALCS at Fenway Park, with the Rays one win away from clinching a spot in the World Series against the Phillies.

There has been considerable discourse and debate about Joe Maddon's decision to start LHP Scott Kazmir tonight instead of RHP James Shields, and one actual by-product is the Red Sox lineup, which is again different. Plus, Sox switch-hitters Jed Lowrie and Jason Varitek will bat right-handed, the side from which both are more productive.

Crisp, cf
Pedroia, 2b
Oritz, dh
Youkilis, 3b
Bay, lf
Drew, rf
Lowrie, ss
Varitek, c
Kotsay, 1b
Matsuzaka, p

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:41am]


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