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Game Thread 04/05/07: RAYS at New York

RAYS at New York
7:05; RAYS TV

Pitching Matchup:

NYY LH Andy Pettite

-The Rays send Jae Seo to the hill to compete in the last game of a shortened two game set with the Bronx Bombers in New York this evening. Seo, making his first start of the 2007 regular season, was 1-8 a 5.00 ERA in 17 games, 16 of which were starts, after coming over via trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers in late June of last year. He brings to the table underwhelming peripheral stats, such as strikeout and walk rates per nine innings that were each below 4 last season. He was also very susceptible to the long ball last year and was hit hard by opponents at times. While Seo's 2006 numbers do not forecast an optimistic projection for the 2007 season, he was often handcuffed by poor offensive run support while starting last year, and often gave the team good starting efforts that resulted in losses nonetheless due to the team's inability to score runs last year. Hopefully the hit parade put on Monday will continue and finally give Seo the offensive run support he needs.

-Hitting the mound for the Bronx Bombers for the first time since the 2003 season will be Andy Pettitte. Pettitte has not started for New York since the 2003 World Series, instead spending three years in his home state of Texas with the Houston Astros, supposedly to wind down his career. After a 2004 season marred by injury, Pettitte pitched superbly and along with Houston ace Roger Clemens, he dominated in posting a 2.39 ERA while leading the Astros to their first playoff series win and the NL pennant. He struggled a bit with the Astros last season, although favorable supporting stats would seem to lend credence to a prediction of a rebound this season as Pettitte tries to help the Yankees get back to the World Series and win a title for the first time since the 2000 season. Still, at 34 it is fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank.

Starting Lineups

LF Carl Crawford
SS Ben Zobrist
DH Jonny Gomes
1B Ty Wigginton
RF Delmon Young
CF Elijah Dukes
3B Akinori Iwamura
2B B.J. Upton
C Josh Paul

-The Rays go with a starting lineup slightly diminished due to cold weather forecast at Yankee Stadium this evening. Josh Paul gets the start at catcher and will bat ninth, the true sign of the 'B' lineup, while Jonny Gomes hits as the DH in place of Rocco Baldelli. Other than that, the core players are in, with Carl Crawford and Ben Zobrist taking up their place at the top of the order, while Ty Wigginton bats cleanup. Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes each are batting higher in the order, while Akinori Iwamura and B.J. Upton hit behind them.

2B Robinson Cano
SS Derek Jeter
RF Bobby Abreu
3B Alex Rodriguez
DH Jason Giambi
LF Hideki Matsui
C Jorge Posada
1B Doug Mientkiewicz
CF Melky Cabrera

-New York, meanwhile, retains most of their starting lineup for tonight's game, with the only changes being Mientkiewicz sliding in at first in lieu of Josh Phelps, while Melky Cabrera takes over in center for Johnny Damon. The rest of New York's lineup is all regulars.

[Editor's Note by Patrick L. Kennedy]: This is, again, not the final template for the game thread. I had more time today to put together something a little nicer with analysis, but I plan to re-format the gameday thread even more this weekend and come up with a regular model from then on out. If anyone has any suggestions as to what they would like to see from this thread for the season, please indicate such desire to me personally, or in the comment thread below. Thanks.