2nd half starts with Shields, Niemann, Price
The Rays will open the second half of the season with RHP James Shields, RHP Jeff Niemann and LHP David Price facing the Yankees in New York. RHP Wade Davis will open the following series in Baltimore, with RHP Matt Garza bumped to the back end of the rotation to get get extra rest.
Manager Joe Maddon said with Garza starting Monday, pitching in relief Wednesday and starting again tonight the felt he would benefit most from the extra time off. "It came down to Davis and Garza and we just moved Garza to the end primarily because start-relief-start,'' Maddon said. "Just wanted to give him more time, the most time coming out of the break. ... Give him a couple extra days and really get him off to a good start in the second half.''
With Price expected to start and pitch two innings in Tuesday's All-Star Game, the Rays wanted to give him his usual four days off so that's why he isn't facing the Yankees until the series finale on Sunday.
"It's all primarily based on rest,'' Maddon said.
The new arrangement splits up Shields and Davis, who have both been struggling (and have 9 losses each) and pitching in back-to-back games, but Maddon said that was not the purpose.
"The biggest thing was trying to set them up and give them the most rest coming off of the break,'' he said. "There's other ways we could have done it with a different set of circumstances, how they lined up coming into the break, or if David was not going to the All-Star Game, all those things were factored.''