Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Starting lineups

Here are the lineups for the Rays' home-opener with the Mariners:

1. Ichiro Suzuki, cf
2. Jose Lopez, 2b
3. Adrian Beltre, 3b
4. Raul Ibanez, lf
5. Richie Sexson, 1b
6. Brad Wilkerson, rf
7. Jose Vidr, dh
8. Kenji Johjima, c
9. Yuniesky Betancourt, ss
Erik Bedard, p

Hard to believe, but Ibanez has had three 100-plus RBI seasons, including the last two. Sandwhiching him between Beltre and Sexson could do wonders for the Mariners. Keep an eye on Bedard - it took a gaggle of young players, such as Adam Jones, to pry him away from the Baltimore Orioles. Consequently, the Mariners think he has the stuff to get them back to the postseason for the first time since 2001.

1. Akinori Iwamura, 2b
2. Carl Crawford, lf
3. Carlos Pena, 1b
4. B.J. Upton, cf
5. Jonny Gomes, dh
6. Willy Aybar, 3b
7. Shawn Riggans, c
8. Elliot Johnson, rf
9. Jason Bartlett, ss
Matt Garza, p

None of the Rays' first four hitters are batting above .227, and Iwamura and Crawford are swimming below the Mendoza line. Despite that, Tampa Bay went 3-3 through Balitmore and New York - a good sign. Johnson is already the third Ray to man right field this season, joining Gomes and Eric Hinske. We'll see if he does better than those two, both of whom turned routine flyballs into adventures during the four-game series at New York.

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