Here are the lineups for Game 1 of the Rays-Rangers series tonight:
TAMPA BAY RAYS TEXAS RANGERS
1. Sean Rodriguez, SS 1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. B.J. Upton, CF 2. Elvis Andrus, SS
3. Evan Longoria, 3B 3. Josh Hamilton, CF
4. Ben Zobrist, 2B 4. Michael Young, 1B
5. Johnny Damon, DH 5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. Kelly Shoppach, C 6. Mike Napoli, C
7. Casey Kotchman, 1B 7. Nelson Cruz, RF
8. Desmond Jennings, LF 8. Yorvit Torrealba, DH
9. Matt Joyce, RF 9. Craig Gentry, LF
SP Matt Moore, LHP SP C.J. Wilson, LHP
Pretty standard lineup for the Rangers versus left-handed pitching, with the exception of Yorvit Torrealba and Mike Napoli being in there together. Mike Scioscia’s lack of faith in Napoli defensively led to him leaving the Angels, yet Ron Washington has chosen to use Napoli at catcher and Torrealba at DH. With tons of right-handed power the Rangers’ lineup is an extremely tough first assignment for Rays left-hander Matt Moore.
Tampa Bay’s lineup versus lefty C.J. Wilson is much less standard, as it includes three left-handed hitters in the bottom five spots. Mostly that just means manager Joe Maddon has opted not to platoon Matt Joyce, who hit just .217 off lefties. Wilson has a nearly identical platoon split this season, faring equally well versus righties and lefties, but he was almost unhittable versus lefties in 2010.
Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …
Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.
Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.
Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.
He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.
Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …
The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.
Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.