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Game Preview (8/22) vs. Texas

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Texas (57-65) at RAYS (50-73)
2:15 PM; Tropicana Field

Hey Devil Rays fans, Patrick Kennedy here! Tomorrow's game vs. Texas is the "rubber" game of this three game set. The Devil Rays have taken the first two games of this series, playing very well behind some awesome pitching. Tomorrow's pitching line is:

TEX-LH Kenny Rogers (11-6, 3.03)
RAYS-LH Casey Fossum (6-10, 4.40)

BREAKDOWN: The pitching matchup is a real dandy tomorrow. It is very rare that you see two southpaws as good as these two taking the mound in a single game. Cameramen and Rays hitters should be cautious when dealing with Rogers, But has struggled somewhat in his first two starts since coming back from his 13 game suspension for shoving two cameramen in Arlington. Before the suspension, Rogers had 20 starts, in which he had a 2.77 ERA. Since coming back, Rogers has an ERA of 6. Granted, it is a small sample size, and his other stats indicate a return to earth based on just plain bad luck, the Rays do have hope for hitting this guy.

Mac takes the mound for the Rays tomorrow, and the Rays should be concerned because in three August starts, Mac has an ERA of 8.22, an even strikeout to walk ratio, and a 1.85 WHIP. These poor starts have risen Mac's ERA from its lowest point in two months at 3.83, all the way up to 4.40. That's a 57 point rise in only three starts! But most of that can be attributed to his poor start on the tenth vs. Baltimore, when he gave up nine earned runs.

So what does this mean? Simply, lots of righthanded batters. Toby needs a day off, but with Lou's only alternative being starting the lefty Pete LaForest, Lou might just wait and sit Toby on Monday vs. Cleveland righty Kevin Millwood. Other than that, look for some outfield combo of Crawford-Hollins-Gomes, and some infield/DH combo of Perez-Green-Lugo-Cantu-Gonzalez.

BOTTOM LINE: While both pitchers are struggling as of late, the two excellent leftys starting should give both teams a puzzle to solve, and expect offense to be at a minimum, much like the first two games of the series. JoeBo should probably have the day off, with him having pitched in the last two games, so expect Miller, Tim Corcoran (who hasn't pitched since the dark ages), or Jesus Colome to get some work, especially Corcoran if Mac can't cut it. But Corcoran is a time bomb waiting to go off because of Lou's brilliant idea of not pitching him for 12 days. I am just a little too sketchy on this one. Mac has not given me any confidence lately, and if he gets pulled early, Corcoran will probably blow the game wide open. I could be wrong and I hope I am, but I think Texas takes this one.

PREDICTION: Texas 8, RAYS 3