Looking for spark, Rays tinker with Game 5 lineup
PHILADELPHIA -- In desperate need of an offensive spark, the Tampa Bay Rays tinkered with their batting order before Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night.
With the AL champions trailing the best-of-seven series 3-1 and facing Philadelphia ace Cole Hamels, Carl Crawford was shifted from fifth to his customary No. 2 hole and B.J. Upton was dropped from second to third. Also, Carlos Pena was moved from third to cleanup and Evan Longoria from fourth to fifth.
Pena and Longoria were a combined 0-for-29 with 15 strikeouts through the first four games of the series. The Rays were batting .187 with just three home runs -- two by Crawford -- after hitting a record 16 homers against Boston in the American League Championship Series.
"It's bumping Carl up as much as anything, too," manager Joe Maddon said of the decision to drop Pena and Longoria one spot in the order.
"I wanted Carl to get up there. He's been a successful two-place hitter for us. And I wanted to unfreeze those two guys a little bit. The fact that they've had a little bit of problems in the normal slots for both of them, I thought just by giving them a little different perspective today may help."
Crawford batted second most of the year. He was inserted into the No. 5 hole when he returned for the playoffs after missing more than seven weeks injuring the middle finger on his right hand.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
MORE MLB HEADLINES
- Mets rookie P Wheeler wins 1st career start
- Red Sox put P Buchholz (neck strain) on DL
- Yanks' Tex goes on DL; surgery for Youkilis
- O's homer twice off Verlander to top Tigers