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Game Thread 09/16/07; DEVIL RAYS (62-87) at Seattle (78-69)

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RAYS at Seattle
4:05; FSN Florida
RAYS RADIO/WHNZ 1250 AM

PITCHING MATCHUP:

IP ERA K/9 BB/9 K/BB H/9 OPS HR/9 WHIP G/F P/IP
RAYS RH Andy Sonnanstine 113.1 5.96 6.67 1.67 4.00 10.40 .795 1.19 1.34 0.88 16.04
SEA LH Jarrod Washburn 176.1 4.49 5.05 3.11 1.62 9.60 .764 1.02 1.41 0.84 16.86

RH Andy Sonnanstine, DEVIL RAYS:

Overview-Andy Sonnanstine makes his first career start against the Seattle Mariners and looks to rebound from his less than stellar performance on Tuesday and guarantee a Rays split in the four game series. Sonnanstine as always will rely on his pinpoint control for success this afternoon in the Emerald City, but to avoid failure he needs to keep the ball down and avoid getting burned by the four-bagger. Both starting pitchers this afternoon are of the fly ball variety, but Sonnanstine has less room for error with respect to the long ball. He will never achieve sustained success through his stuff, but if he can avoid giving up more than one walk and if he can make Seattle beat him through a consecutive string of base hits, he is more likely to do well. It is the three run homer that can be the dagger in his starts.

Recent Starts-Sonnanstine had posted a 1.89 ERA over three starts prior to his last effort in Fenway Park against Boston on Tuesday, where he was partly responsible for a seven run lead going down the drain in an eventual Rays loss. Sonnanstine went into the fourth inning of play in Boston having held the Red Sox to just one run while the Rays' offense had put up eight in his defense, but Sonnanstine failed to record more than one out in the inning and was removed after giving up five hits in the frame. He was eventually charged with four additional runs for five total on the evening. The Rays would go on to lose the game 16-10.

vs SEA-Sonnanstine has not faced the Seattle Mariners in his rookie season, nor have any Mariners players recorded a major league plate appearance against him.

LH Jarrod Washburn, Seattle:

Overview-Joe Maddon spent parts of eight seasons with Jarrod Washburn in Anaheim, with both departing the Angels organization after the 2005 season. Washburn takes to the mound for the Seattle Mariners today on the opposite end of Maddon's Rays as Seattle looks to take the series. Signed by the Mariners to a four year, $37.5 million contract in the 2005-06 off-season, Washburn has been somewhat of a disappointment for the Mariners organization as he completes his second season in the Pacific Northwest. Coming into his 30th start this year, he has posted a 4.49 ERA with un-inspiring peripherals, and this comes after a 2006 season in which he posted a 4.61 ERA in 31 starts. In the American League those are decent numbers for a No. 3/4 starter, but that is not what Seattle thought they were paying for after Washburn posted a 3.20 ERA in 29 starts during the 2005 season.

Recent Starts-Washburn has struggled mightily in his last three starts, coinciding with Seattle's collapse out of the playoff chase. He has given up six runs in a start twice over the last three, and has an 8.40 total ERA over that span. Opponents are hitting .286/.392/.635 off of him, and he has walked 11 batters to only six strikeouts since August 31st.

vs DEVIL RAYS-While recent trends are going starkly away from success for Washburn, the Rays hope that they aren't the remedy for his ills as he faces them this afternoon. I say this because in 14 starts against Tampa Bay as a member of the Angels and Seattle since their 1998 inaugural season, Washburn has a 2.53 ERA over 14 starts. And though his overall performance has decreased since he joined the Mariners prior to 2006, he has still been better against Tampa Bay, posting 0.69 over two starts over the last two seasons. In fact, he has given up just one run in 13 innings total as a member of the Mariners against Tampa Bay. That one run surrendered came earlier this year, when he gave up two runs, one earned, over 6.1 innings while earning a win in an eventual Seattle victory over the Rays. Several Rays hitters have a track record against Washburn, and C Josh Paul was his battery mate often during their years together with Anaheim. Don't be surprised to see Paul get the start today if Maddon opts to see if familiarity pays off, even though Paul is 0 for 7 all-time against him. Among other Rays, Crawford is 5 for 18 with three walks against the Seattle southpaw, Carlos Peña is 4 for 15 with a home run and a double, while B.J. Upton is 2 for 5 with a double and a walk against him. Despite his success yesterday against Seattle, Jonny Gomes may sit today due to his 0 for 8 mark all-time against the former Halo.

STARTING LINEUPS:

DEVIL RAYS
3B Akinori Iwamura
LF Carl Crawford
1B Carlos Peña
CF B.J. Upton
DH Delmon Young
2B Brendan Harris
RF Jonny Gomes
C Dioner Navarro
SS Jorge Velandia
Seattle
CF Ichiro Suzuki
3B Adriàn Bèltre
LF Raùl Ibañez
RF Josè Guillèn
1B Ben Broussard
DH José Vidro
2B José Lòpez
C Jamie Burke
SS Yuniesky Betancourt

BUCS GAMEDAY: The Buccaneers kicked off their home opener at 1pm earlier this afternoon, and going into halftime at Raymond James Stadium the Bucs hold a commanding 21-0 advantage. Jeff Garcia has two touchdowns passing, both to Joey Galloway (who has only three total receptions yet 94 total yards), and Caddy has a touchdown running on the ground in the effort. The Bucs defense has been pwning Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense. Things look to be shaping up for Tampa Bay's first win of the season over in Tampa. You'll wanna check out our Bucs blog on the SB Nation network, Buc 'Em, where you can indulge in what hopefully will be a victory with site writer Jerry Scott. Should the Buccaneers not be your NFL team of choice, you'll still want to check out our offerings on the network. You can do that by going to SB Nation.com, scrolling down and checking out the listing of NFL blogs, or you can check out the same listing on the left sidebar under the SBN box. Simply click the football tab. We have all but two of the NFL's 32 teams covered, so SBN should have your NFL thirst covered.

BISCUITS PLAYOFF RUN: Montgomery plays the Huntsville Starts this evening in a winner-take-all Game 5 of the Southern League championship series, game time is 7pm ET. Stacy Long of the Montgomery Advertiser reports that Biscuits righty Richard De Los Santos will get the start over Tony Peguero for the decisive game. You can listen to Montgomery's quest for a title live at MiLB Gameday Audio (shouldn't be hard to find, it is the only game scheduled on the day), and believe me when I say that you will want to treat yourself to the Montgomery radio broadcast. Jim Tocco and Jesse Goldberg-Strassler are two of the best in the business and are a real pleasure to listen to. Here's wishing the Biscuits the best of luck in wrapping up the second organizational title.

GO BUCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GO BISCUITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GO RAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[editor's note, by Patrick L. Kennedy]: Speaking of area teams and their successes, I want to congratulate the USF Bulls and their fans, as South Florida backed into both the AP and USA Today Top 25 polls for the first time in school history this week. They should have been in the two polls following their win over Auburn last week, but there was nothing that could be done to keep them out for Week Three's ranking, which placed them 23rd in the AP Poll and 24th in the Coaches' Poll. Go Bulls!

GO BULLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!