Rays vs. Red Sox, on a big stage
UPDATE, 6:41: RHP Grant Balfour said he felt fine in his first game appearance for Class A Charlotte on Saturday since recovering from an intercostal strain, but admitted he didn't pitch well, and both he and manager Joe Maddon said he may need more than one additional appearance on Monday before being activated. New OF/DH/1B Brad Hawpe said his Saturday appearance went well and he hit the ball hard without any hits to show for it. He took BP with the Rays tonight and will play for Charlotte as well on Monday in Bradenton. Hawpe said he won't be added to the Rays roster until after Tuesday's game, which if that's the case means a) they won't have to take someone off the 25-man roster to make room but b) he isn't automatically eligible for postseason play but could be added as a replacement for a player on the DL. The Rays will have at least one of those spots due to J.P. Howell. There's a bit of a buzz with the ESPN cameras around, and bullpen coach Bobby Ramos (above) had his camera work in mind, attaching a hunting camera to the bill of his cap before the game. "We're going to get some good shots,'' Ramos said.
UPDATE, 5:01: Rays lineup looks like Saturday lineup:
The Rays are readying to face the Red Sox in tonight's ESPN nationally televised finale of the three-game series.
James Shields will be on the mound for the Rays, John Lackey for the Sox.
With the teams splitting the first two games, the stakes are high - the difference between a 4 1/2 game lead or a 6 1/2 game lead with 32 game remaining.
The Red Sox lineup: