For starters, Rays vs Orioles
The Rays will go for a three-game sweep of the Orioles tonight at the Trop, with the Yankees up next for a three game series here.
RHP Jeff Niemann will start for the Rays, and say he's a much different (and better) pitcher than he was to start the season a year ago. The Orioles will start LHP Brian Matusz, whom some have said could be an early candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Some early tid-bits from the clubhouse:
*RHP James Shields is back, saying his wife, Ryane, gave birth to a healthy and happy baby daughter yesterday afternoon. Though Shields didn't want to disclose the name, ("Call her 'Baby Game,' he joked from his nickname of 'Big Game'), she is 7 pounds, 15 ounces. "She definitely got her looks from her mom," Shields said.
*Manager Joe Maddon said OF Matt Joyce (elbow strain), in Durham for a rehab assignment, will start off as just a DH, but begin a throwing program to where by the time the stint ends (about three weeks from now), he'll be ready to throw full-throttle in a game.
*LHP J.P. Howell, who had said he was scheduled to throw today (from 45 feet), hasn't been seen around, but Maddon said the lefty got his days mixed up with when the program was continuing.
*Closer Rafael Soriano, who has thrown a combined 44 pitches the past two nights (in picking up a win and save), may not be available tonight in the series finale. If not, Maddon said it would be a closer-by-committee, depending on matchups.
*RF Gabe Kapler will make his first start tonight.
Here are the lineups.