Rays Set Lineups
A day after announcing the Opening Day roster, Kevin Cash revealed his lineup plans.
Here’s Cash’s starting nine versus righties, according to Steve Kinsella:
DH-L John Jaso
RF-R Steven Souza Jr.
SS-S Asdrubal Cabrera
3B-R Evan Longoria
1B-L James Loney
LF-R Desmond Jennings
2B-R Logan Forsythe
C-R Rene Rivera
CF-L Kevin Kiermaier
Cash’s logic seems obvious. He’s prioritizing on-base skills to speed at the top of the lineup while still maintaining a lefty-righty balance. The result is a two-through-four that should be in place most days, and a one-through-three that ought to gift Longoria with plenty of run-scoring opportunities. Meanwhile, Cash continues Tampa Bay’s recent tradition of using the ninth spot for a second leadoff hitter—or, at minimum, a non-catcher. Nick Franklin figures to replace Logan Forsythe at second base once he returns.
As for Cash’s lineup versus lefties, he seems to be making two main tweaks by subbing out Jaso and Kiermaier. Guyer moves into the outfield and gives the Rays an above-average runner at the top, while Beckham’s inclusion at second base means the Rays will have additional pop and athleticism down in the order. Employing Forsythe as the DH sounds funny, but Cash figures to rotate other regulars there throughout the season as a means to provide rest.
Of course Cash has more difficult (and meaningful) tasks heading his way in the coming weeks than setting a lineup. So far, though, he’s hard to nitpick.