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Game Preview: Monday (April 3rd) at Baltimore

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RAYS at Baltimore
3:05; Oriole Park at Camden Yards
FSN Florida/Rays Radio; 1250 AM WHNZ

Pitching Matchup:

LH Scott Kazmir

RH Rodrigo Lopez

Breakdown

-The Rays trot out southpaw Scott Kazmir to face the Orioles today, and he hopes to break the curse of previous Rays opening day starters Wilson Alvarez, Steve Trachsel, Albie Lopez, Tanyon Sturtze, Joe Kennedy, Victor Zambrano, and, who can forget, Dewon Brazelton. Now, there are two ways you can go about looking at Kazmir.

  1. By his awful spring; A 9.24 ERA, even K:BB, and 4 home runs given up
  2. By his wonderful 2005, in which he pitched to a 3.74 ERA and set a Rays record with 174 strikeouts.
I tend to thin that the later Kazmir is the one we will see this season, and I certainly hope so. Against the O's last year, Kaz went 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA in four starts. He struggled a little with his command, walking 15 to 18 strikeouts, and gave up 1.4 of his home runs against the O's, but the O's are a power hitting team. Anyways, some players Kaz needs to watch out for from the Birds.....
  1. Kevin Millar-13 AB, 1.117 OPS
  2. Brian Roberts-12 AB, 1.25 OPS
Anyways, expect the usual Scott Kazmir start. A few walks, more strikeouts, and don't read anything into his spring stats. I fully expect the Kaz we all know and love out there today.

-The Orioles trot out their opening day pitcher, Rodrigo Lopez, and I cannot tell you how pathetic that sounds when speaking it. Anyways, Lopez goes out to the mound for the O's after a mediocre 2005 in which he went 15-12 with a 4.9 ERA. He gave up an awful 28 home runs while hitting 7 batters, and his K:BB wasn't even 2. And he's an opening day starter. He had a 2.4 ERA in 4 games, three starts, this spring, walking and striking out six. So not really a tall task for Rays hitters to conquer. Seeing as though Lopez has been in the AL East for a few years, some Rays have decent batting lines against him, including.....

  1. Carl Crawford-31 ABs, .901 OPS
  2. Aubrey Huff-30 ABs, .910 OPS
  3. Julio Lugo-21 ABs, .838 OPS
  4. Jorge Cantu-9 ABs, 1.389 OPS
Hmm, successful Rays hitters+crappy Baltimore pitcher, doesn't take an MIT grad to figure out what that equals.

The Bottom Line

-The Bottom Line is...opening day is finally here! After six months of construction featuring new players, new management, a new manager, and a new set of Tropicana Field renovations, the season finally kicks off today, and we get to see how our Rays will do in a game that matters. Man, it seems like I have been waiting forever for this. Anyways, I'm disappointed that I may miss some of the game due to the 3:05 start, but I will catch whatever I missed on a replay. Maybe the Rays can finally win an opening day game at Camden Yards, last time they were here on opening day seven years back, they lost. But hey, we've won five of the last six opening days, let's make it seven for eight, and enjoy our brief moments in first place in the season's opening week.

Upcoming Games

Tomorrow-OFF

Wednesday-at Baltimore (McClung)

Thursday-at Baltimore (Hendrickson)

0 Days to Opening Day!!!!!!!!!!!

7 Days to the Home Opener

GO RAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!