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For starters, Rays at Rangers, with a new look



Update 4:22 p.m.  Manager Joe Maddon said several things went into starting rookie LHP Matt Moore tonight.

Most importantly, Maddon believes Moore can handle the moment emotionally and mentally. Having already known they'll have RHP James Shields pitch Game 2 and 5, and that they wanted to use RHP Wade Davis out of the bullpen, Moore became a clear choice.

Maddon said Moore was sufficiently stretched out, having thrown 84 pitches in his first big league start against the Yankees, and is confident he'll be able to handle the situation. "We love his stuff," Maddon said. "We believe he can handle the moment emotionally. Also the fact the Rangers have never seen him. The fact that the game is being played the time of day that it is, it is kind of difficult to see here, so we're going to see if that all plays out here eventually.

*Maddon said RHP Jeff Niemann is "not quite 100 percent yet" from the upper back problem he had late in the season. "We think it's wise to get him to 100 percent well in case we do need him," Maddon said.

*Maddon has been intrigued with RHP Wade Davis in the bullpen, likes the idea that he can get his fastball up to the mid-90s if he's in a shorter outing, and believes he can be used on consecutive days. He could become useful against a righthanded hitting heavy lineup.

*Maddon said Sean Rodriguez was put atop the lineup because OF Desmond Jennings has struggled recently - going 3-for-40 in his last 10 games - and he wanted to take some pressure off of him.

*Maddon picked three catchers because that's the one spot where they feel they'll be "most volatile" with in regards to maneuvering in game (pinch-hitting or running for, or defensive replacement). If they didn't go with three catchers, Dan Johnson would likely be on the roster. They went with lefthanded hitting Sam Fuld over the likes of OF Justin Ruggiano and Brandon Guyer even though the Rangers will start three lefties this series.  

Update 4:20 p.m. Here's the Rangers lineup

Kinsler 2b
Andrus ss
Hamilton cf
Young 1b
Beltre 3b
Napoli c
Cruz rf
Torrealba dh
Gentry lf
Wilson lhp

The Rays shook up the lineup for today's playoff opener, dropping struggling Desmond Jennings to 8th and moving Sean Rodriguez to leadoff. Also, Maddom confirms Shields will start Games 2 and 5, and that Dan Johnson was left off roster to carry the 3rd catcher, and that they felt better about Joyce or Fuld than Ruggiano against the Texas lefties. The Rays lineup: S-Rod ss, Upton cf, Longoria 3b, Zobrist 2b, Damon dh, Shoppach c, Kotchman 1b, Jennings lf, Joyce rf, Moore p

[Last modified: Sunday, October 30, 2011 12:15am]


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