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Tampa Bay Rays IV: Rev On The Deadline

Posted By Cliff Corcoran On July 30, 2010 @ 6:00 pm In Cliff Corcoran,Series Preview | Comments Disabled

As I type this, neither the Rays nor the Yankees has made a deadline deal, but that could change by first pitch with the non-waiver trading deadline of 4pm Saturday bearing down on us. Both teams are said to be looking for a designated hitter, but the Yankees are in more urgent need of a relief pitcher (though apparently not urgent enough to give Jonathan Albaladejo an extended look).

On first glance, it might seem the Yankees would be wise to stay in the DH market to cause problems for the Rays, who trail by just two games in the AL East entering this weekend’s three-game set at the Trop, but the real threat to their playoff chances is the Red Sox. Though the Sox are another 5.5 games behind the Rays, they are the second-place team in the Wild Card race and thus the team with the best chance of keeping either the Yanks or Rays out of the playoffs, and the Red Sox big target is relief pitching.

Of course, all of that is mere speculation for now. The hard facts are that the Yankees took two of three from the Rays in the Bronx two weeks ago to even the season series at 4-4, but the Rays have gained a game back in the interim by winning eight of ten and their last six in a row. The Yankees last visited Tropicana Field on the first weekend of the season, taking two of three from the Rays then as well.

In the second game of that series, the Bombers put up four runs in six innings against Wade Davis, who starts for the Rays tonight against Phil Hughes. Davis had more success against the Yanks in a rematch in the Bronx in May, and has been sharp of late, turning in three straight quality starts and posting a 3.47 ERA in his last eight games.

Hughes, meanwhile, seems to be wearing down a bit as the season progresses. He was effective in two of his last three starts, but those came against the lowly Royals and Mariners, while the Angels, Blue Jays, and Mariners in a previous turn got to him good in his other most recent starts. Going back to his start in CitiField on May 17, Hughes has posted a 5.47 ERA over 12 starts, though good run support has lifted his record to 7-3 over that span. However, it’s worth noting that two of Hughes’ recent duds came after his previous start was skipped. Five of his last eight starts on regular rest have been quality and a sixth saw him allow three runs in 5 1/3 innings. Hughes will be be on regular rest again tonight.

Tampa Bay Rays

2010 Record: 63-38 (.624)
2010 Pythagorean Record: 63-38 (.624)

Manager: Joe Maddon
General Manager: Andrew Friedman

Home Ballpark: Tropicana Field

Bill James Park Indexes (2007-2009):
LH Avg-100, LH HR-91
RH Avg-95, RH HR-96

Who’s Replaced Whom:

  • Reid Brignac has taken over the majority of the second base starts from Sean Rodriguez

25-man roster:

1B – Carlos Peña (L)
2B – Reid Brignac (L)
SS – Jason Bartlett (R)
3B – Even Longoria (R)
C – John Jaso (L)
RF – Ben Zobrist (S)
CF – B.J. Upton (R)
LF – Carl Crawford (L)
DH – Matthew Joyce (L)

Bench:

S – Willy Aybar (IF)
R – Sean Rodriguez (2B/OF)
R – Kelly Shoppach (C)
R – Gabe Kapler (OF)

Rotation:

L – David Price
R – Wade Davis
R – Matt Garza
R – James Shields
R – Jeff Niemann

Bullpen:

R – Rafael Soriano
R – Joaquin Benoit
R – Grant Balfour
R – Dan Wheeler
L – Randy Choate
R – Lance Cormier
R – Andy Sonnanstine

15-day DL:

LHP – J.P. Howell (strained left shoulder)

Lineup:

S – Ben Zobrist (RF)
L – Carl Crawford (LF)
R – Evan Longoria (3B)
L – Carlos Peña (1B)
L – Matthew Joyce (DH)
L – John Jaso (C)
R – B.J. Upton (CF)
L – Reid Brignac (2B)
R – Jason Bartlett (SS)


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