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For starters, Rays vs. Cardinals

Update 4:56 p.m. Rays manager Joe Maddon said he doesn't expect any suspensions to stem out of last night's game, when four Rays - including himself - were ejected.

"I don’t understand why (there'd be suspensions)," Maddon said. "It just seems to be trending to the point where if you get thrown out of the game, people expect to be suspended or the conversation goes there. It was an argument, there was no physical bumping or grinding among manager and umpire."

LHP J.P. Howell, who threw his glove down in frustration after Colby Rasmus' three-run homer in the eighth, then smacked a ball away before getting ejected, said he hasn't heard anything yet from MLB. He expects to be fined, but not suspended, saying he didn't make physical contact with home plate umpire Vic Carapazza.

LHP David Price and INF Elliot Johnson were also thrown out from the dugout, something Maddon doesn't understand. Maddon talked with both players, and while they may have waved their arms and yelled, they weren't swearing, etc.

"To start randomly throwing people out of the game in the dugout when they're not even on the field, I don't understand that at all," Maddon said. "That can just really incite a situation as opposed to diffuse it."

*Maddon said it's difficult to pinpoint why the Rays have struggled scoring at home, having combined for just one run in the first five innings of the last four games.

"That's one of our goals, and if you look at our record when we score first, it's pretty darn good," Maddon said. "We've done that a lot this year, and it's a big part of our sucess. In general we've had a malaise about our offense in this building right now and it's hard to understand because they've been so successul here in the past."

*Maddon said he hasn't heard from Rangers manager Ron Washington, who will manage the AL All-Stars, regarding the Rays representative(s), and "doesn't blame him." "I'm sure they've got a pretty good handle on it," he said. "They probably know who they are going to take from us and feel good about that. It's such a balancing act what a manager has to do regarding putting this whole thing together and I respect it, and know it's not easy."

*Maddon said while Cardinals RHP Kyle McClellan has been tough on lefties this year "on paper," they have him as a more "traditional" righty, which is why there's some lefties in the lineup (though there's righties like Kelly Shoppach and Justin Ruggiano mixed in). The Cardinals also have three lefties in the bullpen too, so Sean Rodriguez and switch-hitting INF Elliot Johnson could be available to pinch-hit later.

Update 4:51 p.m. Here's the Cardinals lineup


Cardinals
Punto ss
Jay rf
Holliday dh
Berkman lf
Freese 1b
Rasmus cf
Molina c
Descalso 3b
Schumaker 2b
McClellan rhp

UPDATE, 3:48: Rays lineup:
Damon dh
Zobrist 2b
Longoria 3b
Joyce rf
Upton cf
Kotchman 1b
Ruggiano lf
Shoppach c
Brignac ss
Niemann p

DEVELOPING: The Rays, coming off a firework-filled 5-3 loss to the Cardinals Friday, will try to bounce back tonight in "Turn Back the Clock" night at Tropicana Field.

Maybe the old-school Tampa Smokers jerseys will help ignite the offense, which has continued to struggle at home. The Rays have scored one run in inninings 1-through-5 of their last four games.

RHP Jeff Niemann will be on the mound, and Tampa Bay could use a win, having fallen five games behind the first-place Yankees in the American League East. A key for Niemann will be keeping the ball down, as he left it up too often in a loss to the Astros his last time out, his second start since coming off the disabled list.

It'll be interesting to see if there's any additional discipline in the next few days stemming from the four Rays ejections last night, from manager Joe Maddon to LHP J.P. Howell, LHP David Price and INF Elliot Johnson.

 

 

[Last modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 12:15am]

    

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