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For starters, Rays vs. Jays



Update 5:43 p.m. Though manager Joe Maddon they have a "huge mountain" to climb to get into the playoffs - trailing the Wild-Card leading Yankees by 10 games - he said he's been pleased with many areas of the Rays game (defense, pitching), it's mostly been the offense (specifically at home) that has been too inconsistent.


Think of it this way, the Rays have lost 17 games this season after a pitcher turned in a quality start - second only to the Angels (18). One key problem for Tampa Bay has been their futility with the bases loaded (specficially with no outs), as they've only scored once in their last seven opportunities with bases loaded, no outs.

Maddon said a key is for a hitter to think about just gettting one run and putting the ball in play - not worrying about trying to do too much.

"It's just a mindset, it's an approach, it's again, not trying to do too much," Maddon said. "For a variety of different reasons, it's been hard. It's contagious in a negative way right there. We have just not done well with it."

Developing: The Rays, coming off another disappointing offensive performance in a 3-1 loss Tuesday, will try to bounce back tonight against the Jays, who trail them by just a 1/2 game for third place in the American League East.

RHP James Shields, who had the worst outing of his All-Star season his last time out in Oakland (10 runs, 12 hits), will be on the mound, having already thrown a complete-game shutout against the Jays earlier this year.

The Rays lineup will look mostly the same, except for the fact rookie C Robinson Chirinos will start against Jays RHP Carlos Villanueva.

Rays lineup
Jennings lf
Damon dh
Longoria 3b

Zobrist 2b
Kotchman 1b
Upton cf
Joyce rf
Rodriguez ss
Chirinos c
Shields rhp

[Last modified: Friday, September 2, 2011 12:15am]


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