DETROIT – No theme for this road trip – other than winning – but there is a theme for tonight as the Rays begin a four-game series with the Tigers: Tommy Tutone.
The lineup has a decidedly 1980s pop music feel to it. In fact, it might make you sing the words to Tommy Tutone’s 1981 hit, “867-5309/Jenny” since that’s how the first seven hitters in the lineup read by the numbers associated to their position.
Maddon said it was purely by accident and had more to do with getting as many lefties in the lineup against Tigers RHP Max Scherzer and placing rookie DH Vince Belnome, who bats left, between lefties 1B James Loney and RF Kevin Kiermaier so the Tigers will have a harder time chose how to use a lefty reliever late in the game.
This is also Belnome’s major league debut. He was recalled today, while LHP Jeff Beliveau was optioned back to Triple A Durham.
The Rays start three rookie position players – Cole Figueroa is at second base tonight – for the first time since Sept. 21, 2011 when Desmond Jennings, Elliot Johnson and Jose Lobaton started against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
The Rays bring a season-best five-game winning streak into tonight’s game. They are 6-1 on this 11-game, 10-day road trip, which reaches its final leg in Detroit.
Here are the lineups:
Bedard LHP (4-5, 4.21)
V. Martinez DH
J. Martinez LF
Scherzer RHP (9-3, 3.64)