For starters, Rays vs. Orioles, another key series
Update 5:55 p.m. Rays third baseman Evan Longoria acknowledges the importance of this series against the Orioles, whom trail them by two games in the wild card standings.
"The season comes down to this," he said.
The Rays remain loose heading into thsi four-game series. Though SS Yunel Escobar made a rare error last night, manager Joe Maddon pointed out that he came in wanting to do early defensive work today, a good sign of where the players are at mentally.
*Longoria said it was a "huge honor" to be named the team's MVP by the local chapter of the BBWAA, but pointed out there were a few other worthy candidates from the team. Longoria says that of all his season, this has been his most inconsistent, and disappointing, but believes the honor comes from his ability to stay healthy and contribute in other ways.
*Maddon said RHP Jesse Crain (shoulder) is feeling good after his one-game instructional league appearance, but had no further update on when he'd be activated. It could come as early as Saturday.
*SS Tim Beckham said he received a lot of phone calls and congratulatory texts for picking up his first big-league hit Thursday night. He became the first No. 1 pick, position player, to get his first hit in his first at-bat since Phil Nevin in 1992.
*Maddon said of the bullpen arms, LHP Cesar Ramos, RHP Josh Lueke and Roberto Hernandez are likely unavailable tonight.
Update 5:41 p.m. The Rays lineup includes a little twist, with CF Desmond Jennings put in the two-hole behind David DeJesus. Manager Joe Maddon said he thought Jennings has had a good approach recently, so thought this could be interesting.
Developing: The Rays will open another key series with wild card implications tonight, as they host the Orioles, which trail them by just two games.
Tampa Bay fell into a tie for the top wild card spot after last night's loss to the Rangers, which split the four-game series at the Trop and now own the tiebreaker in taking the season series (4-3).
The Rays will have ace LHP David Price on the mound. Price has pitched well since coming back from the disabled list, but hasn't won in four starts, one shy of career high, with a 4.13 ERA over that span.
The Orioles will start ex-Ray RHP Jason Hammel, who makes his second start, and third appearance, after a five-week DL stint due to a flexor strain.
Lineups, and more, to come.