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Game Preview: Friday (3/10) vs. Toronto

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Toronto (2-7) at Rays (5-3)
1:05; Al Lang Field, St. Petersburg
NO TV/RADIO

Pitching Matchup

LH Ted Lilly

RH Edwin Jackson, RH Tim Corcoran, RH Shawn Camp, LH Mark Malaska, RH Brian Stokes, RH Chad Harville, RH Travis Driskill

The Bottom Line

It will be interesting to see a couple of things today. Jackson intrigues me, and like every start for him, this is an important one. His stuff is just incredible, and I still haven't seen him in person too many times. If I could go, I would, because he is the starter that tingles my curiosity the most. Also, it will be interesting to see if Julio Lugo returns, and if so, how will his reflexes and range be affected by his collision yesterday.

Question(s) of the Day

Will Jackson be able to keep pace in the fifth starter's race? Will the players relieving him put the game out of reach....for the Rays? Will Lugo exhibit any ill effects from his injury? All questions that I will be looking for in the box score tomorrow (as much as I can cull from it, at least), and I would suggest those going to the game to look for the same.

Upcoming Games

Saturday-vs. Indians in St. Pete (Waechter)
Sunday-at Pirates in Bradenton (Fossum???)
Monday-at Indians in Winter Haven (Kazmir)

GO RAYS!!!!!!!
 

Toronto (2-7) at Rays (5-3)
1:05; Al Lang Field, St. Petersburg
NO TV/RADIO

Rays Reads

-The Rays returned home to Al Lang Field yesterday to begin a three game homestand, and won their second straight game, 6-3 over the Atlanta Braves. Damon Hollins lead the Rays' offense, going 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored, and Toby Hall also had two hits in his two at bats, driving in one. The Rays were unable to string together any offense in the first half of the game against Atlanta ace Tim Hudson and reliever Lance Cormier, though they broke the game open, scoring six runs off of Atlanta pitcher Sean White. All in all, the Rays put together six runs on the day, and Atlanta's offense was powered mainly by former Ray Matt Diaz, who hit the game's only home run and went 2 for 4 with a run scored and two RBI.

On the mound, Seth McClung pitched three dominant innings, walking two, giving up two hits, and k'ing two. His ERA on the spring remains....well, wouldn't you know it...0. Chad Orvella also pitched a scoreless inning, while Travis Harper, Jamie Shields, and Jesus Colome each gave up a run apiece, with Harper taking the win. A decent weekday afternoon crowd of 3,382 passed through the gates at Al Lang on a, surprise surprise, sunny day in St. Pete.

-SS Julio Lugo collided with Braves SS Yunel Escobar in Thursday afternoon's game during a steal attempt. As he went into second, his knee collided with Esobar's, though Escobar was relatively unhurt and tagged Lugo out on the play. Lugo limped off the field and was replaced in the game by B.J Upton. Lugo should be back for tomorrow's match against Toronto.

-March 9 marks the 11 year anniversary of the Rays' admission to MLB as a franchise, when owners voted unanimously to make them and the Arizona Diamondbacks the league's two expansion teams to begin play in the 1998 season. But more importantly, it was a year ago today that I had one of my favorite baseball experiences to date. The Rays were playing a rare game against the east coast Dodgers at Al Lang, and they were giving away commemorative posters from the St. Pete Times from the day the Rays were born. Anyways, I couldn't pass me up one of those, so I took a day off from school and ventured down to Al Lang on a very rainy day. I rode about 5 and a half miles on a bike in the rain to Al Lang, in the rain, and finally got the poster as I entered. Well I sat under Al Lang's overhang waiting for an announcement on whether the game would be played or not, and after about 45 minutes, it was announced that they would not. So I trotted out of the stadium, exchanged my ticket for a future game, and rode down to Moon Underwater to meet my father, who would drive me home. The waiter there happened to take an interest in baseball, and gave the poor, soaked kid a free meal in exchange for a Rays pocket schedule. Pretty odd how a rainout can turn out to be a good thing, eh?

Short Hops- While still listed as the probable for Sunday's game against Pittsburgh in Bradenton, Rays lefty Casey Fossum was still not positive of his availability for the game, he played a little catch on Thursday at the complex...Injured Japanese import Shinji Mori threw a little at the Stu Sternberg complex Thursday, but still gave to hint of when he will return...Luis Ordaz was kept out of Thursday's game due to quad issues...Keep the infirmary list rolling, Rays lefty Mark Hendrickson will pitch in a simulated game Saturday, he is out with a sore right femur...Rocco Baldelli is slated to take infield practice today.

Pitching Matchup

LH Ted Lilly

RH Edwin Jackson, RH Tim Corcoran, RH Shawn Camp, LH Mark Malaska, RH Brian Stokes, RH Chad Harville, RH Travis Driskill

Breakdown

Thanks to the amazing information one can find in press notes WHEN THEY ARE ACTUALLY UPLOADED!!! We do know the Rays' scheduled pitchers for tomorrow's game against Toronto. Taking the mound is former top prospect Edwin Jackson, who jumped off to a great start in his quest for the No. 5 starter's job Sunday against the Reds in Sarasota, pitching two perfect innings. Today, he will most likely go three against the Jays, and it shouldn't be too hard to sit down a 2-7 team for a couple innings. Hopefully Jackson can keep up the race for the fifth starter's job and make the final decision a little harder. Doug Waechter also pitched well in his first start Monday against Boston, so Jackson has got no room to spare. Relieving Jackson is an all-star team of incompetent pitchers, lead by Shawn Camp, Tim Corcoran, Mark Malaska, Chad Harville, Brian Stokes, and Travis Driskill. Not much is worth mentioning of these players, as not too many of them will make the roster, and the ones that do will exhibit just how sorry the bullpen is. The only ones that have pitched well are Driskill and Stokes. The rest have ERAs of 6.75 or higher. Taking the mound for Toronto is former Yankee and Oakland southpaw Ted Lilly.

The Bottom Line

It will be interesting to see a couple of things today. Jackson intrigues me, and like every start for him, this is an important one. His stuff is just incredible, and I still haven't seen him in person too many times. If I could go, I would, because he is the starter that tingles my curiosity the most. Also, it will be interesting to see if Julio Lugo returns, and if so, how will his reflexes and range be affected by his collision yesterday.

Question(s) of the Day

Will Jackson be able to keep pace in the fifth starter's race? Will the players relieving him put the game out of reach....for the Rays? Will Lugo exhibit any ill effects from his injury? All questions that I will be looking for in the box score tomorrow (as much as I can cull from it, at least), and I would suggest those going to the game to look for the same.

Upcoming Games

Saturday-vs. Indians in St. Pete (Waechter)
Sunday-at Pirates in Bradenton (Fossum???)
Monday-at Indians in Winter Haven (Kazmir)

GO RAYS!!!!!!!