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Rays Vs. Astros: Didn't The Rays Face These Guys Last Year?

Honest question: with 16 teams in the National League, why would any team have to face the same franchise two years in a row in interleague play? I can understand teams with natural "rivalries" playing each other each year, but it seems very strange that the Rays and Astros are matching up again for the second year in a row.

Not that this is a bad thing for the Rays: the Astros currently have the worst record in the majors by a wide margin (.368 winning percentage), so it should make for an easy series. But from the fan's perspective, it's boring -- the Astros are about as exciting a team as a piece of moldy toast.

Today, James Shields (2.40 ERA, 3.23 FIP) and Wandy Rodriguez (2.88 ERA, 3.74 FIP) will oppose each other. Shields is coming off his second-straight complete game -- it would have his second straight shutout too, if not for one unearned run scoring -- but I think everyone's attention is going to be most firmly fixed on when he comes to the plate. The Rays' pitchers have yet to get a hit during interleague play, and excitement (!!!) is building over which starter will finally break the streak.*

*Remind me again, why does the National League have pitchers hit? Comedic interludes? 


Game Time: 8:05 p.m. ET at Minute Maid Park
Matchup: James Shields vs. Wandy Rodriguez
Television: Sun Sports HD 
Radio: WDAE 620

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