Burrell bats second as Crawford rests
Maddon slots his DH between Upton and Longoria
ST. PETERSBURG -- A first look at Sunday's lineup card filled out by Rays manager Joe Maddon likely got most Rays fans taking a second look.
Carl Crawford had the day off, and batting second for the Rays -- in between B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria -- was none other than Pat Burrell, a career middle-of-the-order hitter.
"It's the Burrell sandwich, between a slice of B.J. and a slice of Evan," Maddon said. "It should digest well. I think he's going to have a very good day sitting in that spot."
Maddon explained his logic by noting he did not want to move Ben Zobrist out of the fifth spot due to the protection he offers cleanup hitter Carlos Pena. And with Washington starter Ross Detwiler being "a reverse split guy," Maddon felt fine with Gabe Gross hitting sixth. Which left Maddon with the decision about whether to hit Gabe Kapler or Burrell second, and he decided on Burrell.
"Pat's a high on-base percentage guy," Maddon said. "He can take his walks. And he can set it up for Longo and Carlos. Also, the bottom part [of the order] keeps doing a good job, so that means he can come up in the two-hole with men on base."
Maddon saw a similar move made by the Angels with slugger Troy Glaus, who was moved up in the order.
"It worked out well," Maddon said.
Burrell is likely the slowest player on the Rays, but Maddon did not feel there would be any adverse effect of having a slow runner hitting in the No. 2 spot.
"No, because Longo's not a basestealer and neither is Carlos, so he's not clogging the bases up on anybody," Maddon said. "Just get out there and let them drive you in. He's swinging the bat pretty well. Putting him in that hole lets us see that he gets a nicer pitch to hit. And see if that really gets him rolling."
Maddon likes to give Crawford a day off when the team is facing an off-day the following day -- which the Rays are Monday -- giving the speedy left fielder additional rest for his legs.
"Carl's been playing at a real high level," Maddon said. "He's been doing a lot of running, obviously, and he's been diving all over the place, doing a great job. And I really believe by giving him the two [days off], he can sustain what he's been doing. And actually, most of the time, when we give him the deuce, he comes back even better. So it should be kind of interesting to see him on real turf [in Colorado, where the Rays play next]."
Crawford said he can "definitely" notice a difference in the freshness of his legs when he gets time off.
"Yeah, I notice it even if it's just one day," Crawford said. "I get a chance to regroup my legs. Just make them feel fresh again."
When asked about the Rays putting some speed in the No. 2 spot by using Burrell there, Crawford smiled.
"Yeah," he said with a chuckle.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.