For starters, Rays at Astros
Update 5:52 p.m. Rays manager Joe Maddon hopes they'll be a carryover effect from Wednesday's win, saying the hitters finally got to "exhale" after snapping a 31-inning drought.
Maddon said he's seen it before where it can flip like a switch.
*Maddon acknowledged that there is concern that trade rumors start impacting players, even though they shouldn't always believe what they read. Still believes they can get back into this.
*RF Kevin Kiermaier said he didn't know until he got a bunch of text messages from friends late Wednesday night that he made No. 1 on SportsCenter's Top Plays. He said it was an exciting moment, something he always watched coming up.
The Rays made some comparisions to OF Sam Fuld's infamous diving catch in Chicago in 2011, how that sparked their run from a rough start. Ben Zobrist said Kiermaier's catch may have been "more impactful," and that the rookie has a "wow factor."
*1B James Loney said he was happy to be able to come home, planning on spending time with his family after Saturday's afternoon game.
*RHP Grant Balfour politely declined to talk about his seven-out save from Wednesday's game, saying reporters should "talk to the young guys." Balfour, demoted from the closer role on Monday, sounds like he wants to stay under the radar and just pitch. He actually felt he pitched better in Sunday's five-run ninth than in Wednesday's save.
Developing: The Rays, coming off their streak-breaking win Wednesday night, had an off-night in Houston before starting a three-game series tonight at Minute Maid Park.
Contrary to what most would have thought before the season, Tampa Bay (25-42), with the worst record in the majors, is behind the Astros (31-37).
RHP Alex Cobb will start for the Rays, hoping to fix a mechanical issue that impacted him his previous few outings. RH Collin McHugh will start for the Astros.
Keep an eye on 1B James Loney, who grew up outside of Houston, and has hit .342 in his career at Minute Maid Park.
A few pre-game notes:
*OF Brandon Guyer (left thumb) will work out for Triple-A Durham today, and if all goes well, start at DH Saturday and in the outfield Sunday.
*The Rays claimed RHP Angel Sanchez off waivers from the Marlins today; he'll go to Double-A Montgomery and get added to the 40-man roster.
Lineups, and more, to come.