The Rays hope to gain ground on the Boston Red Sox in the Wild Card race in a battle of two rookie pitchers. Jeremy Hellickson takes on Kyle Weiland in Weiland's second big-league start.
Jeremy Hellickson is making something of a case for rookie of the year in the American League this season. His ERA is lowest among all AL rookie starters and is .85 runs per 9 lower than Seattle’s Michael Pineda. The Rays cut their wild card deficit to 5.5 games after Wade Davis’ CG last night, and a win tonight and tomorrow would put them a very realistic 3.5 games back with 17 games left to play (including 4 more against the team they’re chasing, the Boston Red Sox.)
Another thing that the Rays have going for them is that the Red Sox starting rotation is looking rather thin. Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Erik Bedard and now John Lackey are all battling injuries, giving an opportunity to rookie right-hander Kyle Weiland. Weiland throws low-to-mid 90’s with a curveball and a cutter. He sported a 3.58 ERA with the Red Sox’s AAA club. Game time is 7:10.