The Rays wrap up interleague play (but hopefully not the last time they play a National League team) for 2011 with a three game series against the St. Louis Cardinals (44-38-tied for first in the NL Central).
On Saturday, both the Rays and the Cardinals will turn back the clock. Since the Rays only go back to 1998, they often “borrow” uniforms from other Tampa teams from yesteryear to honor. The Rays will be wearing the uniforms of the 1951 Tampa Smokers, as in cigars. The Rays made one crucial change to the uniform in response to our more tobacco conscience society. They took the cigar out of the script. The Cardinals will be wearing their 1953 uniforms which according to that article is their first uniform to feature a yellow bat. That team finished 22 games out of first, so I’m not exactly sure why they want to honor that particular team.
The Cardinals are without their star Albert Pujols for the next few weeks. They lost five of six games immediately after the injury, but just rebounded by sweeping the Orioles in Baltimore. Even without Pujols’ big bat in the lineup, the Cardinals still feature an impressive middle of the order in Lance Berkman (20 homers, OPS near 1.000) and Matt Holliday (.325/.428/.555).
Recent History: It’s not very recent, but the last time these two teams played was on May 16-18 2008. The Rays lost two of three in St. Louis.
It looks like a very even series in terms of the matchups:
Lohse has been a pleasant surprise for the Cardinals with an 8-4 record and 2.78 ERA. Hellickson looks to stop his four game losing streak.