Opening Day 2012: Rays, Yankees Starting Lineups

April 5, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; General view of a base with the opening day logo before the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Rays host the Yankees as the rivalry kicks off Opening Day!

Opening Day is here!

James Shields will take the mound as the Rays host CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees to open up the season in St. Petersburg. The starting line ups have been posted and Joe Maddon is already tinkering with the lineup:

  1. Jennings CF
  2. Zobrist RF
  3. Longoria 3B
  4. Keppinger DH
  5. Rodriguez SS
  6. Johnson 2B
  7. Pena 1B
  8. Molina C
  9. Joyce LF

Per Marc Topkin

The two biggest questions seem to be why Luke Scott isn't playing, and why Elliot Johnson is hitting ahead of Carlos Pena. The answers are in the numbers:

Scott, a lefty hitter, is 2-for-11 with 6 Ks vs. Sabathia, while Keppinger is 6-for-14.

Pena is 4-for-35, with 19 Ks vs. Sabathia, and Johnson is 2-for-9 w/ a HR.

With BJ Upton still recovering for an outfield collision with Desmond Jennings, the Rays have an Opening Day line up that will not reflect what's expected of the full season. Jennings takes his spot in CF, the RF Matt Joyce shifts to left, and Zobrist backs into the RF slot. Maddon then gives the defensive edge to Elliot Johnson over Jeff Keppinger.

Additionally, batting Kepp and S-Rod at 4 and 5 is quite a vote of confidence in their bats. It's crazy - but Maddon has never been one to follow every tradition, so we'll see some bench players on Opening Day.

The Yankees projected lineup:

  1. Jeter SS
  2. Granderson CF
  3. Cano 2B
  4. Rodriguez 3B
  5. Teixeira 1B
  6. Swisher RF
  7. Ibanez DH
  8. Martin C
  9. Gardner CF

The Yanks will continue to bat their captain lead off, despite the aging knees and falling speed. Also in a critical role, A-Rod will get the nod batting clean-up. The smartest moves by Joe Girardi? I'm sure he's appealing to player egos and fan expectations, and I'll take it.

Game Time: 3:10 PM ET, April 6, 2012
Location: Tropicana Field
TV: SunSports

For more Rays coverage and analysis, turn to our Rays affiliate DRaysBay.

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