1. BJ Upton
  2. Carl Crawford
  3. Evan Longoria
  4. Carlos Pena
  5. Ben Zobrist
  6. Pat Burrell
  7. Jason Bartlett
  8. Gabe Kapler
  9. Dioner Navarro

Above is a pretty standard batting order used by the Rays this past season versus left-handed pitchers early in the season. In fact, no other batting order was used more often this season. How often? Six (6!) times. Joe Maddon employed 125 different batting orders this season. He used 115 in 2008. By comparison, The Yankees used 107 and the Red Sox used 114.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Joe Nelson, Michel Hernandez and Joe Dillon were granted free agency as minor leaguers. We would not be surprised to see Hernandez and Dillon back with Durham next season. [Baseball America]
  • Rays Renegade spoke with members of the bullpen about their off-season plans. JP Howell, Grant Balfour and Scott Cursi will all be getting married (not to each other). [Rays Renegade]
  • Strange story: Former Devil Rays pitcher Geremi Gonzalez will have his body exhumed in Venezuela to determine if he died of a lightning strike (as original believed) or foul play. We are not really sure how those two could get confused…Gonzalez made 33 starts for the Devil Rays from 2003-2004, going 6-16. [St. Pete Times]
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8 Comments

  1. Don says:

    If four of those guys are in the "regular" line up for the Rays next year...
    the Rays are losers (3rd place) again!
    NO Navarro, Burrell, Kapler, Upton (ok maybe 8th or 9th) OR the Rays do not beat the Yankees/Red Sox in AL east....Book IT!

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  2. Beth says:

    In fairness to JoMa: Upton, Longoria, Bartlett, Pena and Crawford (as well as Iwamura, of course) all sat with injuries at some point. Injuries to your starters will make it harder to establish a consistent line-up.

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    • This is true, but a bunch if regulars missed significant time in '08 as well (Pena, CC, BJ, Longo).

      This year, only 2 lineups were used more than 3 times. The other was basically the RHP version of the one above (Gross in rf and swap Navi/Bartlett). It was used 4x. Last year, JoeMa used 4 different lineups at least 6x.

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      • Beth says:

        Yep, that's true.

        But it seems to me that a major (and probably justified) criticism of Maddon this year was his stubbornness -- he stuck with BJ at lead-off; with the Gabes, etc, even when they did poorly. But your analysis is pointing out (and criticizing, it would appear) his failure to stick with a consistent line-up.

        So is it better to have a manager who plays and bats guys consistently, even if they flounder? Or one who is always tweaking things to work around injuries and take advantage of the hot hand?

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  3. Gus says:

    Is there any way to quantify how stupid it was to give Upton all those lead-off at bats (my #1 pet peeve of this 2009 season) when he was rehabbing an injured shoulder and had never batted lead off in his life? In the AL without a pitcher's slot, lead off seems to always be a key rally spot, and just watching the games, it seemed Bartlett was huge at lead-off while Upton just killed them up there.

    In fact, my biggest concern in all the chatter about shipping Bartlett out is who bats lead off if we dump Bartlett. The answer cannot ever be Upton. If he recovers and has pop, I want him down in the order. If the Upton we have seen 2008-09 is the Upton we have to live with, then he bats in the 7-9 hole.

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  4. Don says:

    Maddon's biggest problem was his being "loyal" to certain players....not trying to hurt their feelings by getting moved "down"....but he seemed to get over it a lot toward end of season...moving hitters up and down the order...maybe some criticism from fans and media... and maybe even front office changed him for the better...we will see in 2010....
    One thing for sure...he has to react to what players are doing or not doing!

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  5. stunna says:

    "JP Howell, Grant Balfour and Scott Cursi will all be getting married (not to each other)."

    Scott who???

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