Maddon not planning big lineup changes

Maddon not planning big lineup changes

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays were stifled by Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, a 5-1 victory by the Rangers. But that result doesn't sound as if it's going to be force any dramatic lineup shifts from manager Joe Maddon for Game 5.

Maddon typically goes with one set lineup against lefties and another against righties. Though the lineup against the righties produced wins in Games 3 and 4, Maddon doesn't think it would be prudent to stick with that group against a nasty southpaw like Lee.

Kelly Shoppach will likely be behind the plate instead of John Jaso. Jason Bartlett will probably be back at the top of the lineup and playing shortstop. Though the left-handed-hitting Carlos Pena did sit against C.J. Wilson in Game 2, he will be in there against Lee, just like he was in Game 1. Rocco Baldelli was the designated hitter against Lee in Game 1, but he was taken off the roster for health reasons the next day. That could put an additional lefty such as Dan Johnson in the lineup for Game 5.

"There's different things we could consider, but I'm really much a believer in what's ever gotten us to this point you want to stay with it for the most part," said Maddon. "I'm definitely willing to tweak things and make adjustments if I feel the information is good, and just reading our situation, if it's the appropriate thing to do at that time. I'm debating a couple little things quite frankly for tomorrow, but more than likely you're going to see a very similar lineup for us vs. a left-handed pitcher. I do have a lot of confidence in this group."

And despite Lee's gem in Game 1, the Rays still have some confidence stemming from the fact they went 3-0 against the lefty in the regular season.

"We've had decent success against him," said third baseman Evan Longoria. "Obviously not as of late, but you know, throughout the course of the year we've had some good battles against him. Obviously he's had good postseason success, but at the same time, I mean, we're in a good spot. We've been able to bring the series back home, and we have our horse [David Price] on the mound, too, and that's the biggest thing for us -- is giving Dave another chance to go out there and do what we know he can do."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.