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5/24: BAL (24-23) at RAYS (28-20)

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Baltimore at RAYS

6:10; NO TV
RAYS RADIO/1250 AM

Pitching Matchup:

IP ERA + K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 OPS WHIP G/F P/IP
BAL RH S. Trachsel 32.0 6.75 62 4.22 5.63 0.75 1.97 .928 1.81 0.98 17.81
RAYS RH E. Jackson 54.2 3.29 125 6.75 4.12 1.64 0.49 .666 1.35 1.15 16.39

RH Steve Trachsel, Baltimore-Former Ray Steve Trachsel swings by Tropicana Field for what could be the final time of his illustrious career. With Trachsel pitching the way he is, he could find himself out of a major league job by the time the Orioles return to St. Petersburg in another three months.

A staple of any Trachsel outing is, of course, a slow pace. Games with him on the mound always seem to take far longer than they should, and it will be interesting to see if he is affected by Major League Baseball's latest salvo this week to speed up games. Honestly though, can it really make him any worse? He has walked more batters than he has struck out, he is surrendering almost two home runs per nine innings, and he is allowing about 1.8 baserunners per inning. That is truly a track record of futility that the Rays have not seen from any other opposing starting pitcher this year.

So Trachsel could really be just the slump-buster the Rays' offense needs. Or he could throw a perfect game. Really, it's one or the other. Either way, come out tonight, enjoy the Commodores, and bid a legendary part of the Hit Show what is, most likely, his adieu to Tropicana Field.

RH Edwin Jackson, RAYS-Despite poor control in his start last Sunday in St. Louis, Edwin Jackson has surrendered just one run over his last 20.1 innings of work, riding an impressive hot streak to an excellent 3.29 ERA. Perhaps more encouraging might be the fact that he walked just one batter each in shutting out the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees on the 8th and 13th, respectively.

The hot streak has many wondering if Jackson is finally fulfilling the high expectations that so many had of him when he first reached the major leagues. It has given people hope that he is finally harnessing his excellent stuff into results on the field, and that this will continue. If that proves to be the case, it will amount to the biggest and potentially most rewarding reclamation project the new organization has undertaken.

Whether it will continue is, of course, a matter of debate. I have made my thoughts known regarding Jackson in the past, and I have not exactly kept a lid on my status as a skeptic. To a degree, I remain a skeptic. He is still walking too many people at 4.12 per nine innings, at least for my comfort, however he has shown improvement in that regard lately. Over his last three starts, his walk rate is just 2.21 per nine innings and his K:BB is 2.5. If he can maintain that level, Jackson will keep up his recent success. Obviously not consistently at the level of his last three starts, but he will be successful nonetheless. Hopefully he is, indeed, for real.

Starting Lineups:

Baltimore
SS Freddie Bynum
3B Melvin Mora
DH Aubrey Huff
1B Kevin Millar
LF Luke Scott
RF Jay Payton
2B Alex Cintron
CF Adam Jones
C Guillermo Quirozm
RAYS
2B Akinori Iwamura
LF Carl Crawford
CF B.J. Upton
1B Carlos Peña
3B Evan Longoria
DH Cliff Floyd
C Dioner Navarro
RF Eric Hinske
SS Jason Bartlett

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