NEW YORK -- Few managers in baseball enjoy the chess match of the game more than Rays manager Joe Maddon, and the expanded bench he has to work with thanks to September callups allows him that much more of an arsenal.
Tampa Bay's bench has been vital this weekend in New York, with Luke Scott delivering a two-run pinch-hit on Saturday, plus other role players like Sean Rodriguez (pinch-runner, late defensive replacement Saturday), Chris Gimenez (two doubles Friday) and Elliot Johnson (two runs scored Friday) playing an important role.
Maddon likes to utilize his bench to secure a lead in the middle to late stages of the game, particularly against a team that has a strong bullpen, like the Yankees.
That was the case Saturday.
"We were trying to get on top early," Maddon said of Saturday's game. "We were trying to get on top there and avoid their better pitchers at the end. ... We tried to win it in the seventh and avoid their better back end of the bullpen."