When the Rays left Tropicana Field after an 8-6 loss to the Twins on August 5th, they were a half game out of first place in the AL East division. They return tonight after a 2-4 road trip two games behind the Yankees.
Under similar circumstances earlier this season, there are few visitors who would have been more welcome at the Trop than the Baltimore Orioles. However, since replacing interim manager Juan Samuel with Buck Showalter on June 29th, the Orioles have posted an 8-2 record and been one of the hottest teams in baseball.
James Shields (10-10, 4.91) takes the mound in the opener for the Rays, who come in having taken two of three in their most recent series versus the Tigers in Detroit. It's a "Turn Back The Clock" game and the Rays will be wearing Tampa Tarpons uniforms, the third time the Rays have paid tribute to the long-time minor league affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.