As interleague play begins on Friday in the major league, the Tampa Bay Rays get their first taste of facing the likes of the NL East as they begin a three game series with the Atlanta Braves.
Rays pitcher James Shields has an opportunity to be the first seven-win pitcher in baseball this season as he starts on Friday. Last year in interleague play, Shields pitched three complete game victories before dropping a game against Cincinnati on June 29. In his last start against the Baltimore Orioles, Shields went six and two-thirds innings but gave up six runs, four earned in a victory.
The Braves counter with pitcher Tommy Hanson, who has had it rough against the American League in his last four interleague starts. In those last four starts, Hanson is 1-2 with a 9.78 ERA. However, his recent performances belie that statistic as in his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals Hanson went five innings and allowed only one run while striking out a season high nine batters.
The game is set for a 7:10 p.m. start time from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Television coverage will be provided by Sunshine Sports with radio coverage on WDAE 620 AM and WGES 680 AM.