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David Brown

Nobody's been worse in a World Series than Longoria & Pena

Big League Stew

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Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria need to start hitting, not only for the sake of the Tampa Bay Rays but also to stay ahead of history's worst World Series performers. Regardless, manager Joe Maddon might want to shake up the lineup a little, because your big boppers aren't usually so unproductive.

Among Nos. 3 and 4 hitters in Series history, Pena and Longoria have been historically bad. They are a combined 0-for-29 with no runs scored, two RBIs, three walks (all Pena's) and 15 strikeouts (nine for Longoria). It's impossible to find measurably worse performers with a similar amount of plate appearances in the World Series, no matter how far back you look.

No cleanup man since Oakland's Mike Epstein in 1972 has been as ineffective as Longoria, who is 0-for-16 with one RBI and nine strikeouts. Epstein, whose nickname was "Superjew" (just had to get that in) was, like Longoria's teammate Pena, a solid defensive first baseman with a keen batting eye and decent power.

Epstein in '72 went 0-for-16 in six World Series games. Athletics manager Dick Williams moved Epstein to the No. 5 spot in Game 4, back to cleanup in Game 6 and out of the lineup completely in Game 7. And it's a good thing, because Gene Tenace, who slugged .913 in the '72 Series, batted cleanup in Game 7, drove in two runs and led the A's to victory against the Cincinnati Reds.

Pena's company is even more exclusive. Not since Tony Perez went 1-for-18 (.056) for the Reds in 1970 has a No. 3 hitter been so weak. Yogi Berra went 1-for-16 over four games of the '49 Series (he missed one game presumably to injury). Nobody's ever batted third for a team in the World Series from start to finish and gotten no hits. Unless it happens tonight.

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