A lineup card blunder by Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon forced the team to insert starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine into the third slot in the batting order during Sunday’s game against Cleveland.
Maddon composed a lineup featuring two third basemen and no designated hitter. The original plan was to have regular third baseman Evan Longoria as the DH, with utility man Ben Zobrist getting the start at third.
The goof created a pregame delay, with umpires deliberating over the correct ruling on the error.
The end result left Zobrist at third base batting fifth in the order, Longoria — who had been slated for the third slot in the order — on the bench, and Sonnanstine as the three-hole hitter.
Despite the gaffe, the Rays managed to hold on for a 7-5 victory, with Sonnanstine going 1-3 and contributing an RBI double in the process. Not bad for a last-minute replacement.
As for manager Joe Maddon, we can now properly label him a genius for pulling all the right strings to notch the win. The skipper only has one big job to do, and that’s create the lineup each day. Needless to say, it’s tougher than it looks.