Tampa Bay Rays Changing Their Lineup Once Again

By David Hill
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 17: Steven Souza Jr.
OAKLAND, CA - JULY 17: Steven Souza Jr. /

Despite the Tampa Bay Rays recent success, manager Kevin Cash is not pleased with the lineup. On Wednesday, he debuted what may be the Rays lineup going forward.

The old saying states that, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Considering the success that the Tampa Bay Rays had enjoyed over the past few weeks, it would be hard to argue that their lineup was broken in any way. nonetheless, manager Kevin Cash felt that there was room for improvement, and set about tweaking the lineup.

On Wednesday, Cash unveiled what he expects the top of the Rays lineup to look like going forward. Steven Souza, who had been the Rays primary leadoff hitter against lefties, will man that spot regardless of who is on the mound. Behind him, Cash is planning on the formidable foursome of Corey Dickerson, Evan Longoria, Logan Morrison, and Wilson Ramos.

This move was prompted by Mallex Smith‘s struggles over the past few games. He has been unable to keep his hot start going at the plate, and has been unable to be the catalyst the Rays wanted atop the lineup. However, even if Smith hits in the ninth spot, he can still serve the same purpose, a speedster on base before the big sluggers.

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These lineup changes could certainly work out in the Rays favor. Not only would their leading sluggers, Dickerson and Morrison, get more plate appearances, but they could get Longoria on track. While he has been better lately. Longoria has not been that same threat in the middle of the Rays lineup. Sandwiching him betwixt the sluggers could help him get closer to that performance.

Of course, just as the Rays had their best laid plans, they may end up for naught. Souza left Wednesday’s game after sliding awkwardly into second, and is day to day with a strained left hip. While the Rays, and Souza, hope that the injury proves to be minor, it is still a matter of some concern.

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However, if healthy, the Tampa Bay Rays may have found their lineup going forward. For a team that is one of the hottest in baseball over the past month, that statement should frighten the rest of the American League.