|Maddon argues a call.|
In a game filled with staunch traditionalists, Maddon has earned praise for his willingness to adapt the new ideas in baseball. Recent statistical analysis has shown many of the long-held ideas about platooning, lineup structuring, and closer use are outdated or just plain wrong. Maddon is on the cutting edge in many of these regards. Whereas many teams can trot out the same line up 150 times a year, the Rays are forced to implement platoons to take advantage of the proper matchups. For example, behind the dish Kelly Shoppach plays against lefties and John Jaso against righties. That might be the simplest platoon that the Rays have. The roster is full of utility players who can play a number of different positions: Ben Zobrist (2B, RF), Sean Rodriguez (2B, 3B), Elliot Johnson (2B, SS, 3B), and the list goes on. This allows Maddon to mix and match lineups as he pleases, but it also means that many players will not be on the field at times. When teams have established lineups, playing time isn't a big issue because everyone is accustomed to their role. Maddon has to manage the emotions in the dugout that come with the uncertain playing time.