AL Wild Card Game 2013: Rays vs. Indians starting lineups

Jason Miller

The lineups are in, and the Rays' is... odd.

Starting lineups are in, meaning the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians are officially ready to square off at Progressive Field Wednesday night.

The Rays will bat first as the visiting team, sending a strange variation of their lefty-heavy lineup to the box to face rookie right-hander Danny Salazar.

Late-season acquisition David DeJesus will lead things off for Tampa Bay, taking his usual position at the top of the order on days when he has the platoon advantage. Rather than typical No. 2 hitters Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce, manager Joe Maddon has opted to ride the hot hand and put rookie Wil Myers in second position; the AL Rookie of the Year candidate hit .308/.362/.542 with four home runs in September.

Looking uncomfortable in the third spot is first baseman James Loney, who batted in the three hole just eight times during the regular season. Zobrist, who has the most appearances in the three spot this year, will bat fifth. The reasoning behind this move is unclear; the switch-hitting Zobrist is faring quite a bit better from the left side of the dish this season.

Another oddity in the Rays lineup is Maddon's decision to keep lefty-hitting DH Luke Scott out of the lineup in favor of Delmon Young, who is historically terrible (.709 OPS) against right-handed pitching. Similarly, framing savant Jose Molina will take on the catching duties in lieu of the switch-hitting Jose Lobaton.

Things are a little more straightforward for the Indians, who will send seven left-handed batters up to face off with right-hander Alex Cobb. When the lineup rolls over with Chisenhall at the bottom, Cobb will have the luxury of facing six straight left-handed batters, who are hitting a not-great (but better than righties!) .235/.294/.383 against him on the year.

The top four in the order -- Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis, and Carlos Santana -- have been interchangeable all year, and Wednesday night is no different. Francona's lineup construction makes sure that Cobb doesn't get the platoon advantage until the sixth batter he faces, but also spaces switch-hitters Swisher and Santana out to make sure that a LOOGY can't get the upper hand in the later innings.

More from SB Nation MLB:

Were A-Rod's supporters hired to protest? | Turns into meme

Brisbee: The calculus of playoff rooting interests

Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh fans dominate Reds as Bucs advance

Neyer: Was this Johnny Cueto's destiny?

Closing Time: A Mariano Rivera retrospective

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.