For starters, Rays vs Mariners
Update 5:08 p.m. Manager Joe Maddon confirmed that RHP James Shields will start Sunday against the Mariners, with RHP Jeff Niemann starting Monday against the Tigers and ace RHP Justin Verlander.
Maddon said while both threw complete games in their last start, and threw a similar amount of pitches, the way in which Shields got through his outing made it better for him to start Sunday, and give Niemann an extra day to rest.
*C John Jaso was excited to be back - having to face reigning Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez or not - saying it was a little frustrating that his recovery from an oblique strain took longer than expected. He said he feels good, and should have no restrictions.
*Maddon said he had a lot of fun at the Bucs game Thursday night, a guest of Bucs coach Raheem Morris, saying he ran into a lot of Rays fans at Raymond James Stadium. He had a good chat with Morris and a few assistants pre-game, and stayed until around after halftime.
*A new fixture in the Rays clubhouse is a replica of a Gold Glove award - in a boxed showcase - on the wall in between Sean Rodriguez and Evan Longoria's locker. It's meant for inspiration, as Maddon has said all along he wants his team to aspire to win the award. Maddon said he feels his team has above-average defenders all over the field, specifically pointing out players who should warrant consideration for the Gold Glove (Shoppach, Rodriguez, Longoria, Kotchman). Maddon said he'd rank Ben Zobrist among the best defensive outfielders in the game, lauding his fundamentals (from throwing, positioning, etc).
Developing: The Rays, having won three of five games in New York and Boston on their last trip, return home tonight to face the Mariners, who are in last place in the AL West.
RHP Wade Davis will take the mound for the first time since Aug. 10, as his last start was pushed back so Tampa Bay could line up RHP James Shields, RHP Jeff Niemann and LHP David Price in the Red Sox series. A key will be how Davis opens the game, as he has a 7.29 ERA in first innings, and 4.08 after that.
The Rays will have a tough task with Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.
C John Jaso, activated off the disabled list yesterday (strained oblique) is in the lineup for the Rays.