The Rays, after losing two of three in Atlanta, begin a three game series in Miami against the Marlins. With Tampa Bay being tied with the Yankees for first in the AL East it goes without saying that a series win is needed.
Friday: Matt Garza (7-4, 3.50) vs. Nate Robertson (4-5 4.57) Garza has become ace-like this year, putting up some other-worldly starts. He is the guy I feel best about going out and starting a winning streak. Robertson didn't start against the Rays when the Marlins were in town last week. However, he did put together 5.2 Innings of one-run ball in relief last week, in effect saving Fredi Gonzalez from destroying his bullpen.
Saturday: Jeff Niemann (6-1, 2.83) vs. Chris Volstad (4-6, 4.25) Niemann was a victim of the long ball in his last outing (it was against the Marlins) in arguably his worst outing of the year. He will look to rebound in Miami, hopefully getting back to his, no-walk groundball ways.
Sunday: David Price (10-2, 2.31) vs. Josh Johnson (7-2, 1.86) Truly a rubber match, this game features two of the best young pitchers in the game. Price picked up his AL-leading 10th win in his last outing, despite it not being his sharpest (5 IP, 8H, 2ER, 7K, 3 BB) and Johnson was given a no-decision in his last outing, going 7 innings and allowing only one run, only to have hios bullpen fail him in the 9th.
Things to look for:
How much longer can the Rays afford to carry 3 catchers and 2 essentially DH-types on the roster while playing NL ball? With Navarro, Shoppach, and Jaso trying to split catching duties, plus Aybar and Blaylock essentially serving the same purpose, the Rays roster-flexibility is, well...inflexible.
Will the Rays lineup continue to go hot and cold? Here are the Rays last 8 games run totals: 1, 2, 10, 1, 6, 9, 2, 10. Not a whole lot of consistency is there?