We all know the Rays will have good pitching. We also know the Rays have a few very good bats. But with BJ Upton on the DL, and a left-hander on the mound for tomorrow’s opening day, the lineup will leave cause you to shake your head.

Whatever the opposite of Murderer’s Row is, this is it…

  1. Flash Jennings, CF
  2. Ben Zobrist, RF
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Jeff Keppinger, DH
  5. Sean Rodriguez, SS
  6. Elliot Johnson, 2B
  7. Carlos Pena, 1B
  8. Jose Molina, C
  9. Matt Joyce, LF

Yes, Jeff Keppinger is the DH and batting clean-up. Yes, Elliot Johnson is playing second base and batting sixth.

OK, it is a left-handed starter, which is the better split for Keppinger and Sean Rodriguez (batting 5th). But we don’t imagine this lineup is striking a lot of fear in many lefties, much less CC Sabathia.

 
 

14 Comments

  1. petethehat says:

    It’s the first different line-up of the year, there may be 161 more!!!

  2. Charles says:

    Small sample size, but Keppinger is a .429 career hitter off CC. Not sure I’d have him hitting cleanup, but having him DH doesn’t bother me so much. Personally, I’d just flip-flop Kepp & Zobrist and not feel so bad about this lineup.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      to clarify, I don’t think Maddon did anything egregious here. This is probably the best lineup available to him. But just the idea of Keppinger hitting cleanup and Johnson hitting sixth is just jarring and shows that the team has a lot of talent, but still lacks depth.

      • Blake says:

        My only real complaint with it is EJ over Luke Scott in the order. Scott’s numbers are decent enough to include his pop in the lineup over EJ (and having Keppinger play the field).

  3. Michael says:

    When I think devastating power, I think Keppinger

  4. Beth says:

    I know it’s irrational, and I know it’s unfair, but any lineup featuring Elliot Johnson leaves me in despair.

    And really, the only thing that would change if Upton were healthy is that Joyce wouldn’t play.

    Sigh. As Cork said, it’s not just that Johnson’s playing — it’s that he’s not batting 9th, suggesting he’s not even seen as the weak spot here.

    • Tone says:

      I completely agree on the point that Elliot Johnson being in the line-up sucks BIGTIME(let alone opening day!).
      Mine would have been:

      CF Jennings
      SS Rodriguez
      3rd Longoria
      RF Zobrist
      DH Scott
      2nd Keppinger
      1st Pena
      C Molina
      LF Joyce
      ^
      ^that line-up looks much more like a MLB team to me.

      ^

    • woodyfl says:

      Everyone happy to see Upton hurt can enjoy this opening day lineup. All this talk of Zobrist or Jennings replacing him in the outfield is completely missing the point.

      So now you see the net result. With healthy BJ – Pop Zobrist in place Elliot johnson at 2nd and suddenly this lineup looks respectable.

      For the time being Eliot Johnson is effectively BJ’s replacement on many days in the lineup.

      So you haters happy with that and think that makes the Rays a better offensive team? Im not and I dont

  5. Dave L says:

    Everyone happy to see Upton hurt can enjoy this opening day lineup. All this talk of Zobrist or Jennings replacing him in the outfield is completely missing the point.

    So now you see the net result. With healthy BJ – Pop Zobrist in place Elliot johnson at 2nd and suddenly this lineup looks respectable.

    For the time being Eliot Johnson is effectively BJ’s replacement on many days in the lineup.

    So you haters happy with that and think that makes the Rays a better offensive team? Im not and I dont

    (Sorry I forgot my ID)

  6. Ken Heller says:

    Dave you are totally right. EJ shouldn’t even be on the 40 man roster. We paid 5 mil for Scott. Let him earn it. Maddon’s smoke and mirrors line ups will lead to a lot of 2-1 games, and we don’t have a bullpen stud.

  7. Don says:

    I’ll take the top four WITHOUT upton any day….If maddon would hit Upton 7/8/9 would be fine..
    SO what are we missing an 8th place hitter….Upton…
    If anything is bad about the lineup is a 5mil. man on the bench and a $7mil. man hitting 7th who should be on the bench against sabathia….Is this better than Kotchman (.300) and Damon (.260)?… would they be sitting on the bench or hitting 7th, or making $5-7 mil.??????????????????
    I’ll take EJ to get more hits than Pena off Sabathia…

  8. Drew says:

    I guess some people will always think they can manage a team better than an MLB manager, let alone a two time AL Manger of the Year

  9. John A says:

    Any lineup with Carlos Pena in it has problems. He strikes out more than a geek at a trendy bar and he absolutely refuses to be a team player by going the other way to move a runner or knock one in. He hits meaningless after meaningless home runs. His batting average is constantly a discrace, yet fans and the Rays continue to love this rally killer. At one point this spring he was 4 for 37 with 15 strikeouts. The Rays called it a slump. I think that is normal for him.
    I could go on and on.
    Why is he so adored by fans and the Rays?
    7.5 million for this guy!
    Excuse me, I think I’m going to be sick.

    • Dear John A, I have the luxury of hindsight. You were absolutely wrong. Embarrassingly wrong. You were wrong from the first inning to the bottom of the ninth inning. How embarrassing is it to be so wrong?

      I’m not sure but I believe Carlos may be leading the American League in several offensive categories. I think he might have gone to the opposite field with his game winning walk off hit. $7.5 million for a freaking Yankee killer? John A is going to be sick. I just love it when haters get their due.

      I could go on and on.

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