For starters, Rays at Indians
Update 6:10 p.m. No huge news out of manager Joe Maddon's pre-game session. He did say that, with one week left until the trade deadline, it'd be more likely that the Rays bolster their roster with an outside acquistion than get help from call-ups from the minor leagues.
"For right now, there's nothing to blow up here," Maddon said. "If the acquisition would occur, that would be the first way we'd re-align this team. Not necessarily from a call-up. If you're going to look to make us better, you would probably look acquisition wise first."
Maddon said Durham LF Dan Johnson (and his International League leading 27 homers) is "intriguing," and RHP Jeremy Hellickson has been impressive, but pointed out how "Triple-A numbers and major league numbers can be so far apart when you try to understand that it plays here."
"Even though a guy may be having a great season there, it doesn't necessarily translate to even anywhere near those numbers in the major leagues," Maddon said. "So that's where having good evaluators really matters, and I think we do."
Maddon did say that Hellickson has the stuff and composure to where he's a possibility of making an impact in the bullpen down the stretch this season - like David Price did two years ago - but that's not been decided.
*As far as today's lineup, Maddon said while Talbot can be better against lefties, he also strikes out more right-handers, which is why you see a split lineup. He didn't want John Jaso to start three straight games, and thought he'd be better against Sunday's starter, RHP Justin Masterson.
Developing: The Rays will get another shot to snap their lengthy losing streak in Cleveland (which is now 18 games) today, as left-hander David Price takes the mound.
They'll see a familiar face on the other side, with Indians RHP Mitch Talbot a former Ray prospect.
C Kelly Shoppach, who spent the previous four seasons with the Indians, will start at Progressive Field today for the first time as a visitor. Talbot is tough on lefties (holding them to a .222 average, as opposed to righties, who hit .296), which is probably why Shoppach is behind the plate (as opposed to left-handed hitting John Jaso) and Sean Rodriguez is at second base (as opposed to Reid Brignac).