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Rays Vs. Marlins: Interleague Play Kicks Off

Ah, Interleague Play. That weird time of the season where we get to see awkward situation after awkward situation: AL pitchers attempting to bat, NL teams slotting bench players in at DH, and contrived "rivalries" created by major league baseball in order to boost their ratings. If you'd like to see balanced schedules in baseball, this weekend is enough to make you pull your hair out. In the name of supposed rivalries, this weekend's schedule is the same as it is almost every year: the Rays face the Marlins, the Yankees face the Mets, and the Red Sox face the Cubs. I'm sure the Rays are quite happy that they have to face the team with the third best record in the National League right now, while the Yanks and Red Sox get to face two teams that are each currently below .500.

Starting today for the Rays is Andy Sonnanstine (3.92 ERA, 5.75 FIP), who is making his third start filling in for the injured Jeff Niemann. Sonnanstine lasted five innings during his previous start and while he allowed four runs, he also flashed some traces of his former self, walking no batters and working the corners of the plate well. While the Rays would likely be better served recalling one of their prospects from Triple-A, like Alex Cobb, the Rays seem to prefer to go with Sonnanstine while allowing their prospects the proper time to develop.

Facing Sonnastine and the Rays is Anibal Sanchez (2.90 ERA, 3.06 FIP), who has been nothing short of dominant so far this season. His strikeout rate is at a career high (over 9 K/9), and he's limiting walks and homeruns while inducing more groundballs than every before. He's going to be a difficult pitcher for the Rays to beat.

The Rays and Marlins kick off their weekend series tonight at 7:10 PM in Miami.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.