Sometimes Merlot Joe’s mixing and matching works perfect. Sometimes it blows up in his face. Today was a little of both but more so the juggling of lineups like shuffling a deck of cards worked for the Rays skipper.

John Jaso sits for Kelly Shoppach. Boom! Two-run homer.

The immortal Elliot Johnson plays short for Briggy. Boom! Three-run homer.

The Legend of Sam Fuld pinch-hits for Justin Ruggiano and the Legend of Sam Fuld gets a hit and scores a run.

That was the good. Then there was the bad that almost looked like it might sink the Rays.

Fleet-footed Prince Fielder embarrassed the Rays and Merlot Joe after a Williams shift was staged with one out. Instead of pulling the ball, Fielder tapped it down the third base line for a single and the Brewers later loaded the bases on Goggles before scoring a run.

What’s the point of a shift with a four-run lead with only two outs to go to win the game? Even without the shift, Fielder is not much of a candidate to beat out an infield single. Strange call and it appeared was the opening to an awful comeback.

Overall, the mixing and matching worked. Today. This time.

This was a nice series win by the Rays. Beating a division-leading squad two out of three on the enemies’ home turf is a damn good thing.



  1. Matt says:

    Come on Joe, Prince couldn't make that hit again if he had too... And Evan made a great play to keep him at first so no harm no foul.

  2. Drew says:

    How about this question: what's the point of NOT employing the shift with only two outs to go with a four run lead? Because of that situation is Fielder less likely to pull the ball? Do the percentages suddenly change?

  3. Sarah says:

    The whole point of the shift is to dare a lefthanded power hitter to try to go the other way. Maybe 1 in 50 times he'll get a hit doing that, but you neutralize his power and mess up his swing.


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