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For starters, Rays at Astros



Update 2 p.m. Rays manager Joe Maddon said keeping the lineup static the past week, and same on back-to-back games, is partly because he wants to give the hitters some continuity and comfort.


Plus, as he points out, the Rays have been facing mostly righthanders, and will continue to do so.

The main reason Maddon is optimistic the team will turn it around is that the offense has much more in it, hasn't scratched the surface of its capabilities.

*While Hanigan feels great behind the plate, Maddon said they're not going to over-use him, in an attempt to keep him healthy the rest of the season.

Update 12:51 p.m. If it's not broke, don't fix it. With his team riding a two-game winning streak, manager Joe Maddon put out the exact same lineup on back to back days.

CF Desmond Jennings, recently moved back up to the leadoff spot, says he feels players like having that stability, knowing where they're hitting and who they're hitting in front of, and they've noticed a familiar look the past week. Jennings says he's starting to feel comfortable at the plate, liking hittting leadoff, where he's been most of his life.

*C Ryan Hanigan, starting on back-to-back days, said it was great to finally snap his 0-for-28 slump with two singles Friday night. "It's been a while," he said. Hanigan felt  he was having good at bats, but not finding holes, so he was encouraged to get a few to fall in Friday. Hanigan said he feels great behind the plate, and is ready to resume his regular full workload.

*LHP David Price, who starts Sunday, said he feels like he's a better pitcher than he has ever been in his career, he's just hoping for some better results when he faces the Astros. He likes where he is with every pitch, which is why you see the staggering strikeout/walk ratio.

*RHP Joel Peralta said it was fun to strike out the side Friday night, fanning the top three hitters in the Astros order swinging. The best battle was with touted prospect George Springer, who ripped a 3-1 fastball 350 feet foul to leftfield. Peralta came back the next pitch with a fastball and Springer struck out swinging. "He almost swung out of his shoes," Peralta said. "It's like he wanted to hit it out of the ballpark or something." Manager Joe Maddon noted how Peralta used mostly fastballs Friday, and the veteran said the reason is that his arm is feeling strong, hitting 91-92 mph on the gun.

Rays lineup
Jennings cf
Kiermaier rf
Longoria 3b
Loney 1b
Zobrist 2b
DeJesus dh
Joyce lf
Escobar ss
Hanigan c
Archer rhp

Astros lineup
Fowler cf
Springer rf
Singleton 1b
Castro c
Dominguez 3b
Carter dh
Presley lf
Gonzalez 2b
Villar ss
Cosart rhp

Developing: The Rays are riding a rare winning streak - two - heading into today's afternoon game with the Astros.

Tampa Bay's offense has come alive the past two games, scoring six runs in each, for its first winning streak since May 24-25 against Boston. It also snapped a 10-game road losing streak last night.

RHP Chris Archer will be on the mound, and that's been a good thing as of late for the Rays, as he's 1-1 with a .87 ERA his last five starts. RHP Jared Cosart will pitch for the Astros, having pitched very well against the Rays in his debut last season.

The Rays have won 13 of their last 15 games against Houston, including nine of 10 at Minute Maid Park.

In rehab news, OF Brandon Guyer (left thumb) is scheduled to DH today for Triple-A Durham. He'll likely need 3-4 rehab games before returning.

Lineups, and more, to come.

[Last modified: Saturday, June 14, 2014 3:04pm]


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