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Rays hope Pena can get hot in heart of lineup

Rays hope Pena can get hot in heart of lineup

ST. PETERBURG -- It isn't very often you see a .196 hitter bat fifth in Game 1 of the postseason. But Carlos Pena still has a presence to him, as evidenced by 28 homers and 84 RBIs. So he was right in the thick of the Rays' lineup on Wednesday, even against nasty Rangers left-hander Cliff Lee.

Before this season, Pena had a streak of three straight 30-100 campaigns.

"Well, the big thing with Carlos, he could, as they say, go off at any time," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "There was a pretty big hit he had the other day against [KC's Joakim] Soria, and I think that did something for his confidence. He had a big home run at home against Baltimore. With Carlos, again, power hitters like him tend to be streaky."

The beauty for a player who has a disappointing season but still makes the postseason is the chance for redemption.

"You're in a situation like this right now where we're beginning a new season, and I'd like for him to think that there are no numbers attached to his name, that he's going to come out and start playing and have a nice second season this year," said Maddon. "And then beyond that, obviously Carlos is really important to us defensively."

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