ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington didn't hesitate to start rookie Craig Gentry in left field for today's Game 1 of the ALDS. Washington earlier had said the batter-pitcher matchup might not dictate his selection in left, which opened speculation that David Murphy, who has surged at the plate in September, would stay in the lineup even if the Rays decided on lefty Matt Moore to start.
Moore will start and Washington said he chose not to deviate from his season-long decision to use the right-handed-hitting Gentry over the lefty Murphy, who's hitting just .215 against southpaws.
"This is a power lefty with good secondary stuff," Washington said of the rookie Moore. "And, I just wanted to make sure that Gentry knows that he's still going to be engaged."
The risk in Washington's decision comes more in the field. When Gentry played during the regular season he started 41 games in center, four in right and just two in left. But, with Josh Hamilton entrenched in center for the postseason and Nelson Cruz in right, Gentry will have to make the move to left.
Washington said Gentry told him he feels more comfortable in right so it will be interesting to watch him man left field under a bright sky with shifting shadows as the late afterno0n turns to evening.
Obviously, Murphy has far more experience in left, starting there 67 times this season with 30 starts in right mostly when Cruz missed time with a hamstring injury.