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Shoppach Gets The Start At Catcher

Today’s lineup, per MLB.com, features the surprise omission of left-handed catcher John Jaso:

Zobrist, B, 2B
Damon, J, LF
Longoria, E, 3B
Ramirez, M, DH
Johnson, D, 1B
Upton, B, CF
Joyce, M, RF
Shoppach, K, C
Brignac, R, SS

Though Kelly Shoppach tends to hit left-handed pitchers very well, today’s starter, the righties Chris Tillman, might give the same-handed Shoppach fits at the plate.

Of course, many possibilities exist for the slightly unusual lineup. In 2010, Maddon used a unique platoon for the shortstop position, where each shortstop faced pitchers according to whether or not he pitcher had fly ball tendencies or ground ball tendencies.

In all likelihood, though, Maddon may be simply giving Shoppach some early playing time and Jaso some rest, for no other reason than to simply get these players into the swing of the season. The Rays will face a lefty tomorrow, so perhaps Maddon wants to ensure Shoppach is warm for that game.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.