For starters, Rays vs A's
Update 5:34 p.m. Manager Joe Maddon feels the kind of win like Thursday's - a 7-6 victory in 12 innings in which they overcame two extra-inning deficits - can have a positive lingering effect with his team.
That holds especially true for the rookies who played such a big role, from C Robinson Chirinos to LF Desmond Jennings and RHP Brandon Gomes. Maddon raved about their makeup, how they handle difficult moments in the field and are able to come through. Chirinos gets another start tonight, with Maddon saying he'd like to see him also get some playing time against lefties, though C Kelly Shoppach will get a bulk of those starts.
*Maddon said RHP Jeremy Hellickson will start Monday, with RHP James Shields Tuesday. Though that will only bounce them back a day, it appears likely it has something to do with the Rays seires with the Yankees (Aug 12-14) and Boston (Aug-16-17). Maddon said there is a "finish line" with the six-man rotation, which will likely come after that Red Sox series.
*Maddon said C John Jaso and C Jose Lobaton both came out well of their recent baseball activities (Jaso, with an oblique strain, took batting practice yesterday). They are still waiting for a re-evaluation, but it's likely that Jaso will need a rehab assignment. Maddon believes he'll be back by September, though it could be earlier.
*A's RHP Grant Balfour, an ex-Rays reliever, admitted it was "weird" being back at Tropicana Field - at least, in the visitor's clubhouse for the first time since 2004. He was happy to be able to stay at his home in Clearwater Wednesday night - a place he intends to live in during the offseason - and show his two-month old daughter, Raegan Madison, her new nusery.
Update 5:32 p.m. Here's the A's lineup
UPDATE, 3:57: Rays lineup:
DEVELOPING: The Rays, winners of five of their last seven, welcome the A's tonight to Tropicana Field to begin a three-game series.
Oakland had taken three of four from Tampa Bay in last week's road trip, but the Rays will have RHP Jeff Niemann on the mound, coming off a red-hot July (3-0).
Tampa Bay had a historic victory Thursday afternoon, overcoming two extra-inning deficits for the first time in club history, scoring in three separate extra innings.
For "80s Night" at the Trop, The Go-Go's will perform a post-game concert.