Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays have luxury of lead in making Kazmir-Shields decision

ROOKIE MARK: Evan Longoria takes off after his first-inning homer, his fifth of the postseason.


ROOKIE MARK: Evan Longoria takes off after his first-inning homer, his fifth of the postseason.

BOSTON — The Rays are obviously in a good position, with a 3-1 lead and the chance to clinch a World Series berth on Thursday.

After Tuesday's game they were huddled to determine whom they wanted on the mound.

RHP James Shields has been the scheduled starter, but they were considering switching to LHP Scott Kazmir.

One theory seemed to be that with a 3-1 lead they'd switch to Kazmir, knowing Shields was still available for a potential Game 6 at home, where he pitches better. Another was that if they have the chance to finish off the Sox, they should use their most reliable pitcher.

Kazmir, who has struggled in two postseason starts, has pitched well in Fenway, 4-4, 3.02 even after one rough and one so-so outing this season. Moving him up would allow the Rays to use the bullpen freely if needed, with the benefit of a day off on Friday. And it would avoid having Kazmir work Game 6 with the plate staffed by umpire Derryl Cousins, whom he blasted after a June game. "That might be a good idea,'' Kazmir said.

Shields hasn't pitched well at Fenway, 0-3, 10.13 in three tries. And he has done extremely well at home this season, 9-2, 2.59, plus 1-1, 3.29 in the postseason.

UPTON UPRISING: CF B.J. Upton's left shoulder will still require surgery "soon after the season's over," but it's feeling better enough that he's able to take a full swing again, to pull the ball to leftfield again and to hit home runs again — five in his first 28 at-bats of the postseason. He is the first player, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, to hit at least five homers in the postseason after hitting fewer than 10 in the regular season; he had nine in 531 at-bats.

GOING DEEP: Evan Longoria hit his fifth postseason homer in the first, most by a rookie, and tied the ALCS mark with homers in three straight games (matching the Yankees' Bernie Williams in 2001); the LCS record is four by Gary Matthews (1983 Phillies) and Jeffrey Leonard (1987 Giants). … With 16 homers midway through their eighth game, the Rays matched the record for teams making postseason debuts. The 1995 Mariners hit 16 in 11 games.

CROWD CONTROL: Removing the tarps covering portions of the upper deck and putting some 5,700 more fans in Tropicana Field for any remaining ALCS and possible World Series games will lead to longer lines at the concessions and more crowded hallways and bathrooms.

Plus, some of the seats have obstructed views and are on benches and without backs.

The Rays initially resisted, saying the building "operates better" with a capacity of about 36,000, but decided, based on the intense demand for tickets and input from fans, that the tradeoff was worth it and they would benefit from the extra support.

"We had put the fan experience first," team president Matt Silverman said. "We decided that the priority is to allow as many people as possible to cheer on the Rays and be part of this special season."

Tickets for Game 6 will be sold starting at 5 today to those selected for the Internet presale through; winners will be notified by e-mail this morning.

Any remaining tickets will be sold to the public on starting at 9 a.m. Thursday. Details for Game 7 tickets have not been announced.

Registration for the chance to buy World Series tickets closes at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

MISCELLANY: With Monday's victory, the Rays won three straight at Fenway for just the second time in franchise history and first since four in a row April 18-July 1, 1999. … The Rays will not work out today. … Longoria's two errors on a second-inning play were the Rays' first of the postseason.

Rays have luxury of lead in making Kazmir-Shields decision 10/14/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 7:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  2. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  3. Rays journal: Cesar Puello, who has one major-league game, claimed off waivers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Looking to add punch to their right-handed lineup, the Rays claimed OF Cesar Puello off waivers Saturday from the Angels.

  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Mariners game

    The Heater

    SS Adeiny Hechavarria doesn't always look like he's going hard, but he showed impressive reactions Saturday in reversing field to catch a ball that clanked off the catwalk then firing to second to double up Guillermo Heredia on an attempt to tag up.

  5. Bucs journal: Simeon Rice gives master class on sacks to defensive ends


    TAMPA — As the Bucs seek their first 10-sack season from a player since Simeon Rice in 2005, who better to help that cause than Rice himself?

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Simeon Rice works with defensive end Noah Spence (57) after practice at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.