ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington is a creature of habit and he's not going to change that now. That's why his lineup for Game 2 reflects matchups and not hot performances from Game 1.
Right-fielder Jeff Francoeur, a right-handed bat who doubled in the first run Wednesday and made a nice grab on a liner in the ninth with two men on, will sit today in favor of Julio Borbon (who will play left field) against Tampa Bay Rays righty James Shields. Rookie first baseman Mitch Moreland will start in place of Jorge Cantu and Matt Treanor will catch C.J. Wilson even though Bengie Molina had three hits, including a solo home run in Game 1.
Washington said he never gave a thought to putting Molina back behind the plate.
"This is what I've done all year and I'm not going to change anything," Washington said. "Because once you start the changing, they [the players] feel it, too. You have to stay status quo. Everybody's given us an opportunity to be where we are and everybody is going to give us an opportunity to move forward the same way we've done it. That's why I haven't changed it."
All three players will make their postseason debuts. Moreland-Treanor-Borbon will bat 7-8-9, a wholesale change from Game 1.
For Moreland, he'll try to keep his recent surge at the plate going. In August and September he recorded just 31 hits -- seven home runs -- in 132 at-bats. In six at-bats in October, he has three hits, including a pair of dingers. Washington said he has faith in his young first baseman.
"Mitch had his moments of anxiety. I wouldn't say he was scared. He had his moment of anxiety, we all do," Washington said. But, once we noticed that, we gave him some time down to catch his breath and reflect a little bit. I think now he understands that he can, and that's all that matters. Not to say that in these playoffs, he's going to be facing some of the best pitchers in baseball and that they won't take him to school, but I think he'll be in that class learning quick."