Much like Maddon's Game 3 decision to start left-handed-hitting Gross against Phils lefty starter Jamie Moyer, the insertion of switch-hitting Zobrist against righty starter Joe Blanton was well thought out by the Rays skipper.
Zobrist hit .253 during the regular season and hit .242 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs against right-handed pitching. Zobrist is 1-for-3 in two World Series games and 1-for-7 in the postseason.
"Just trying to check the whole thing out," Maddon said. "I talked about Rocco [Baldelli] a little bit; the splits are a little bit different with this guy. Researching, Rocco, I guess last year he was 0-for-8 against [Blanton]. Gabe did OK last night. [Zobrist] is still swinging the bat well.
Game 4 Lineups
|1) Iwamura, 2B||1) Rollins, SS|
|2) Upton, CF||2) Werth, RF|
|3) Pena, 1B||3) Utley, 2B|
|4) Longoria, 3B||4) Howard, 1B|
|5) Crawford, LF||5) Burrell, LF|
|6) Navarro, C||6) Victorino, CF|
|7) Zobrist, RF||7) Feliz, 3B|
|8) Bartlett, SS||8) Ruiz, C|
|9) Sonnanstine, P||9) Blanton, P|
"My biggest concern there is game in progress. I don't want to take [Zobrist] out because of all the other things he does. The potential for a double-switch like last night is not as attractive. But let's just get on top and not worry about it."
Maddon also cited the progress Zobrist has made as a hitter.
"The fact he's come along so far with his hitting is the big issue," Maddon said. "He's just become such a much better hitter. And also power-wise [12 home runs during the regular season in 62 games]. He's played himself into this role. He's made himself a very interesting player for years to come. Not just for us, but in the industry, if you're looking at us, I think you like Ben Zobrist. He's done this on his own."