Thankfully, James Shields and Scott Kazmir are not injured. Though Shields will miss a start due to suspension. They both lost to the Angels on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. At least they won Edwin Jackson’s start against Joe Saunders, but they finished the roadtrip a dismal 36. They lost Shields’ start early and Kazmir’s late, so it’s not a specific recurring problem. It’s just that the Rays don’t do well in Anaheim, and don’t play quite as well in any hostile environment. Joe Maddon has admitted that they have to improve in that department, and he’s as right as he’s ever been. But now it’s time to come back home and face the other Florida surprise, the Marlins.
The Rays come back to Tropicana Field to start that long stretch of interleague play. They’ll be trekking to a series of National League stadiums following a home series with the Cubs next week. I’ve been watching the Cubs the last few days during their series with the Braves, and I must warn the Rays to put on their Agame and get ready for a war. They are dangerous. But first, the Marlins, who have shocked the state of Florida right alongside the Rays. They have a great collection of infielders who can burn pitchers if they show up unprepared. Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez lead the offensive charge, both hitting and running. But they are a little lackluster in pitching and more than a little down on defense, so I see the Rays having the advantage throughout most of this series. Hopefully they can take two out of the three games, which I see them doing. Sonnanstine, Garza and Jackson will be on the mound, and I like their chances. Plus we’ll be seeing the grand returns of former Rays second baseman Jorge Cantu, now Florida’s third baseman, and pitcher Mark Hendrickson to Tropicana Field. Bring your boos and cowbells, and keep Marlins infiltrators back. Let’s take them down a peg and stay in our divisional race.
On a high note, my Waterfront Stadium speech, which I mentioned in a previous post, went down well last night. Hopefully I convinced people to hop on the Rays’ bandwagon. At least I know I got an A both on the speech and in the class. And my college quarter is officially over. I’m off for over a month and due for a long vacation, so celebrate with me. Let’s start with a Rays win over the hated National Leaguers tomorrow night and go from there. So in hopes of sending the Marlins back out to sea, go Rays.