We missed this the other night, but thankfully one of our commenters (Amanda) pointed us in the right direction.

On the night Johnny Damon hit his 500th career double, he appeared with Todd Kalas for the postgame interview. During that conversation, TK asked Damon about leading off. Johnny Biceps had this rather telling comment…

This was a situation where instead of using five different guys [in the leadoff spot] Maddon knows I am comfortable there. And we can have more of a set lineup. And it seems like we are scoring a few more runs right now.

Maybe we are reading too much into this, but it sounded like Johnny was saying he went to Maddon to let him know that he a) wants to be in the leadoff spot; and b) thinks a more consistent lineup is a good thing.

And for the last 18 games prior to yesterday, that’s what we have seen. At least at the top of the order. Damon has led off and Ben Zobrist has hit second every game during that stretch.

Things are still a little chaotic lower in the lineup. But hey, we would worry about JoeMa if he didn’t have something to tinker with.

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13 Comments

  1. Des from Durham says:

    Joe has got one more change to the top of the lineup coming when I make the show as the end of June (latest possible Super 2 date, right?)

    This is the slowest Rays team since 1998. No speed but BJ really. When your manager makes a big deal about Elliot Johnson adding speed and he gets thrown out the next 4 times he tries, you know you've got troubles.

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    • Sarah says:

      I for one would like to sign a petition begging Elliot Johnson not to attempt any more steals.

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    • Phil says:

      Des - You should get up here soon to play left and lead off everyday ...Rugginio has been hitting well but you are the future and he can give you, upton, Joyce and Damon one day off a week..plus on his day off he can pinch hit in the late innings for the weak hitting shortstops on this team.

      Also with you up here Zobrist becomes the fulltime second baseman and you do not need 3 light hitting middle infielders...sorry EJ

      And while you are at can you bring up one of the catchers in triple A and send Kelly packing?

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  2. Don says:

    Gee Johnny, you just got here... this has been going on for 4 years now....just wait for MAddons next bike ride you might be batting 7/8/9 and BJ given another shot at lead off...How about it Joe...it would give BJ more confidence don't you think Joe....think about it....

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  3. Amanda says:

    Thanks for looking in to this, Cork. I wasn't paying 100 percent attention to the broadcast it when it was happening, but I had one of those "did he just say what I thought he said?" moments. I'm glad I mentioned something.

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  4. Hal says:

    This "set-line-up" thing seems so dated and lazy. There's 25 guys on the roster; put them in the best position possible to succeed. If that means sitting them or moving them around based upon data instead of hunches, then so be it. We won the AL east last year with a very light hitting offense that somehow managed to score runs. Swing the bat and hit the ball no matter what position you're in. And Des, please come to St. Pete soon.

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    • Beth says:

      Thanks, Hal. What a sensible response.

      And if Johnny likes the lead off role and does it well, I'm sure Maddon would keep him there. He doesn't fiddle with success (look at the consistency of where he's batted Longo or, previously, Carl Crawford.)

      But if a player has, say, dramatically different lefty-righty splits, wouldn't you move him around depending on who is pitching?

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  5. Derek says:

    I'm in the you're reading way too much into this camp. At most, he is saying that batting him leadoff helps Maddon, because he doesn't have to worry about that one spot in the lineup.

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  6. Amanda says:

    Yep, it's the Emperor's New Baseball.

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  7. Don says:

    Most people missed the whole point in Damon's comments: HE is telling MAddon instead of hitting 6 different people in one position..you have the guy right here for lead off...Damon learned this in many years of successful baseball...he is just trying to help Maddon with his job!

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  8. Dave L says:

    Johnny was talking about wanting to be the regular lead off man, and staking his claim to it. To extrapolate that comment into "the lineup" is a stretch.

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