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.

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7 Comments

  1. a.j. says:

    Well said! I think one of the things that hurt the team last year was too much inconsistency with the lineup! Joyce needs to be an everyday player, and if you never let him face a lefty regularly, he'll never hit them well. And I'll take it a step further...if this is possibly Dan Johnson's big opportunity, then he needs to be in the lineup as well. Obviously, if we sign any offense, it's only going to be one hitter. So, we might as well see what we have by giving some of these guys regular playing time.

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  2. phil says:

    These Guys like Jaso, Srod, Joyce need to be in the lineup everyday for the development of their baseball skills...As AJ just said ..."if you never let him face a lefty regularly, he’ll never hit them well"

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  3. MJ says:

    Amen. I feel they went w split driven lineups because they thought it was their year and didn't want to mess around w young guys learning to hit. Maybe I'm missing something but I never understood why they didn't have higher avgs if they played the splits constantly.

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  4. Don says:

    Maddon reinvented the wheel..good managers (teams) have had set lineups for 100 years...not Maddon..
    He truely enjoys showing everyone who the boss is and he will do damn well as he pleases with lineups...
    After all, "you fans don't know Nothing" quote Joe Maddon..

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    • Scot says:

      Don: Maddon reinvented the wheel..good managers (teams) have had set lineups for 100 years…not Maddon..

      There is no evidence that keeping the same lineup increases the performance of the average player. History shows that top managers during eras where the lineups rarely changed, were usually the ones that were willing to try new players midseason (McGraw), take advantage of platooning (Stengal), and/or carefully choose batter-pitcher confrontations either at the beginning of the game (Weaver) or mid-game (La Russa). I could easily argue that with multiple lineups, each player knows that he is going to be a part of the team, hence players perform better.

      NL's best example of a manager who is willing try multiple lineups is Bruce Bochy. And he took the worst team in the playoffs and won the World Series.

      Anyway,

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      • Don says:

        "each player is going to be a part of the team"...are you kidding me..this is not little league..where the kid goes home crying because he didn't play...I don't want Gabe Kaplar, Shopp, Hawp, Baldelli... ect to be "part of the team"...
        Figure out who the best players are at certain positions and play them 90 % of the time..the rest are substitutes..
        Bochy or management sign a bunch of "has beens", plus good pitching and they played for HIM...thats why HE is a good Manager...with Maddon EVERYONE plays whether they produce or not! end of story.....

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  5. a.j. says:

    What happened to the 8th day of Raysmas?

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