ALDS Game 5 lineups: Rangers versus Rays

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Here are the starting lineups for tonight’s Game 5 of the ALDS:

   TAMPA BAY RAYS                 TEXAS RANGERS
1. Jason Bartlett, SS          1. Elvis Andrus, SS
2. Ben Zobrist, RF             2. Michael Young, 3B
3. Carl Crawford, LF           3. Josh Hamilton, CF
4. Evan Longoria, 3B           4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
5. Carlos Pena, 1B             5. Nelson Cruz, LF
6. B.J. Upton, CF              6. Ian Kinsler, 2B
7. Dan Johnson, DH             7. Jeff Francoeur, RF
8. Kelly Shoppach, C           8. Bengie Molina, C
9. Sean Rodriguez, 2B          9. Mitch Moreland, 1B

Both teams have made some changes compared to the Game 1 lineups. Texas has benched Jorge Cantu in favor of Mitch Moreland at first base. Tampa Bay has replaced Rocco Baldelli with Dan Johnson at designated hitter while moving Ben Zobrist into the No. 2 spot and sliding B.J. Upton back into the No. 6 spot.
Josh Hamilton and Moreland are the only left-handed batters in the lineup against lefty David Price, while lefty bats Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and Johnson are in there versus southpaw Cliff Lee.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.