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07/24/08 8:20 PM ET

Maddon making lineup lefty-proof

Manager alternates lefties and righties in Rays' batting order

KANSAS CITY -- Joe Maddon is crafting a lineup that should protect his lefty hitters as much as possible from left-handed pitchers.

None of the Royals starters are lefties, but they have two left-handed relievers. Maddon's lineup for Thursday's game featured an alternate left, right or switch at almost every spot. The only time two left-handers bat in a row is at the five and six spots, with Carlos Pena and Cliff Floyd.

"You try to make it a little more difficult for the other manager to manage against you," Maddon said.

The lineup could also stick because Maddon said he liked batting Carl Crawford third and having Akinori Iwamura and B.J. Upton in the first two slots.

Although Tampa Bay has struggled against lefties this season, the Rays did just take two out of three games from the A's, who had left-handed pitchers starting every game.

Carl Crawford said the biggest key for left-handed batters against left-handed pitchers is to try to drive the ball to the opposite field, rather than over swinging and trying to pull the ball.

"Everything they make about left- or right-handed pitchers, whoever it is, we go out and have same approach," Crawford said. "We don't really worry about it too much."

Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.