6/14/2014 4:06 P.M. ET
Maddon bringing consistency to Rays' lineup
By Mike Vernon / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- For the second consecutive game, the Rays sent the same lineup to the plate against the Astros.
Beyond that, the Rays have shown a more consistent lineup through the past six games. Manager Joe Maddon has been known to switch the lineup around frequently, but with his team's offensive struggles of late, the change he's made is a lack of just that -- change.
"We have been offensively challenged at this point," Maddon said. "That's the primary shovel for the hole that we're in."
There are multiple reasons for the steady lineup from Maddon, but the primary one is because he thought the consistency would help his players. The other is the fact that the Rays have faced mostly right-handed pitchers.
"I was trying to establish some kind of continuity for their sake," Maddon said. "While we've been seeing the righties, I thought it would be wise to get them comfortable in some regard."
One of the Rays feeling more comfortable lately is Desmond Jennings, who has spent the last six games as the leadoff hitter.
While Jennings is hitting .243 on the season, he has seven hits in those six games batting leadoff, including two against Houston on Friday night that resulted in two runs scored.
"You get comfortable hitting in a spot," Jennings said. "I hit leadoff my whole life, I feel like. It's just a comfortable position, something I'm familiar with. It feels good to be in one spot, to hit in one spot instead of bouncing around."
Also breaking a streak was Ben Zobrist, who was on a stretch of going 0-for-26 with runners in scoring position headed into Friday night's game. It was the longest streak of any non-pitcher in baseball, according to Elias Sports Bureau. His two-run triple in the fifth inning snapped the streak, and gave the Rays a crucial 4-1 lead in their eventual 6-1 win.
Hanigan breaks out of career-worst hitless streak
HOUSTON -- Ryan Hanigan broke a career-long hitless streak, which included a trip to the disabled list, on Friday night against the Astros.
Hanigan hadn't gotten a hit since May 12 at Seattle, which was before he went on the DL with right hamstring tightness. The 0-for-28 stretch was the longest of the catcher's career.
"I feel pretty good," Hanigan said. "Still trying to work on my timing, but I think that will come with more at-bats."
Hangian singled in the sixth inning to break the streak.
"It's been a while," Hanigan said. "Feels good just having good at-bats.
Hanigan still has a way to go in terms of his recovery. He calls it a work in progress and that he's just trying to stay more consistent for the team. He's still working on his conditioning in order to get back to where he can catch every day if need be.
"That's going to be a little bit of a process to get back to that," Hanigan said.
Guyer making progress at Triple-A Durham
HOUSTON -- Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer worked out Friday with Triple-A Durham, and as a result of the positive workout, was scheduled to DH on Saturday in Indianapolis.
Guyer has been out since sustaining a left thumb fracture on May 26. Guyer is hitting .262 for the Rays this season, with one home run and six RBIs.
If Saturday's game goes according to plan, Guyer will start in the outfield Sunday for Durham.
Mike Vernon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.