It’s only been just under a week since the Rays last played, but it has felt like an eternity! Perhaps the sickening feeling after the heartbreaking loss on Sunday has stretched the time off even longer. Bookending the break with the Yankees and the Red Sox made the time feel less like a break and more like the eye of the storm.
I’m excited to get back to the season with the Red Sox though. Series against New York and Boston are always so full of energy, not only among players but among fans as well. It will be interesting to see how the Rays fare at home against the Goliaths. The only thing I dislike during these series is hearing all the visiting fans’ cheers, though it does make for a highly electric atmosphere at the Trop.
The Rays set the rotation today and will send David Price, 8-7, 3.70 ERA, James Shields, 8-7, 2.33 ERA and Jeff Niemann, 4-4, 4.53 ERA to the mound to face the Sox. Quite honestly, I’m surprised it won’t be Jeremy Hellickson on Sunday.
I have to admit, when Josh Becket decided not to pitch on Tuesday, I felt a twinge of excitement. Sometimes I feel a little bad when an opponent is injured but as I’ve grown in my baseball fandom, that guilt ebbs. I used to think it was so barbaric when guys at the sports bar would shout at the TV, “break his leg!” during a football game, but now I get it. While I don’t go as far as wishing for a broken leg, it helps when a great pitcher isn’t facing your team. I’m sure Red Sox fans felt the same hope when David Price didn’t pitch on Tuesday too.
Josh Becket is 8-3, 2.27 ERA for the season. Ominous numbers for the Rays, who’s offense has been lacking thus far. Beckett was only playing it safe on Tuesday however, and is the probable starter for the Sox on Sunday. Lefty Andrew Miller, 3-0, 3.57 ERA, will take the hill tomorrow and John Lackey, 6-8, 6.84 ERA, will throw on Saturday.
We are definitely in for some good pitching match-ups this weekend! I hope the cowbells are there in force to help the Rays kick off the second half. I wonder if David Price has recovered from that little incident on Saturday, and if James Shields has forgiven Price for slapping him in the face?