Rays at Royals, in the heat
UPDATE, 7:06: Maddon says the Rays will stick with the six-man rotation for a while, the product of wanting to limit not only Hellickson's innings, but at times to push back Shields and Price, and also due to the emergence of Alex Cobb. Looking at the schedule, it would seem they could stay with six through the Aug. 16 doubleheader in Boston. ... They also confirmed the rotation for the Oakland series - Hellickson, Price, Shields and Davis. ... Maddon said Rodriguez is starting tonight because he matches up better with Hochevar, and it's not a shift to playing him more at short than the others.
UPDATE, 6:04: Brignac, who would usually start at SS vs. a RHP, said he feels fine, no injury issues. And the temperature hasn't changed much, down to 100 with a feels-like of 104.
UPDATE, 5:50: Rays lineup has a twist, with Sean Rodriguez at shortstop:
DEVELOPING: The Rays are getting ready to battle the Royals and the heat here in Kansas City, as the temperature at 3:15 local time was 101 degrees with a feels-like of 105.
RHP Wade Davis will be on the mound for the Rays, making his first start since July 6, having been sidelined with a forearm strain. The Royals will counter with RHP Luke Hochevar.
Coming off a rugged 10-game stretch against the Yankees and Red Sox (in which they went 4-6), the Rays now open what should be an easier, and certainly less intense, stretch, with 17 of their next 20 games against the Royals, A's and Mariners, who have a combined .429 winning percentage. (And the other three are against the Jays, who are 1 game over .500).