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.
NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.
The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.
Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.
Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.
MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.
Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.
There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.
Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.
Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.
Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.