If you have been hanging around these parts for a while, you know that the model for this site is to tell you what the Rays have done, what they are doing and try to project what they will do based on what we have learned. Think of RI as “Tampa Bay Rays 101.”
However, for the next 12 days we will step away from the standard, and we present to you 12 “presents” the Tampa Bay Rays should give to their fans. Looking back at last year’s 12 Days of Raysmas, we see that many of our wishes came true (including that sweet no-hitter), and the result was another division title.
Without further ado…
On the seventh day of Raysmas, the Tampa Bay Rays gave to us, SEVEN games with the same lineup…
Remember this lineup from last season?
1. Jason Bartlett
2. Carl Crawford
3. Ben Zobrist
4. Evan Longoria
5. Carlos Pena
6. BJ Upton
7. Pat Burrell
8. John Jaso
9. Reid Brignac
That was a fairly typical lineup from the first-half of the 2010 season. In fact, it was the most common lineup used by Joe Maddon last year…and it was only used six times.
In total, JoeMa used 129 different lineups in 162 games. There were only five lineups used more than twice. We are convinced that Maddon fills out a lineup card like he and Dave Martinez are playing Twister…
“Dave, *spins wheel* right-handed Upton, 6th!”
And at this point, there is little reason to think 2011 will be any better. In fact, it has a good chance of being worse. Much worse. That is why we think Maddon should buck his tendencies and find some consistency.
Stop worrying so much about matchups and give the kids a chance to grow. A guy like Matt Joyce is never going to be everyday big leaguer if he never gets to face a left-handed pitcher.
C’mon Joe. Give ’em a chance. They just might surprise you.