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Rays Report

Tampa Bay Rays: Dan Johnson has messages; postseason veterans; Don Zimmer realizes his mistake

Rays at Rangers

When/where: 5:07 today; Rangers Ballpark, Arlington, Texas

TV/radio: TBS; 620-AM, 1040-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Starting pitchers:

Rays

LH Matt Moore (1-0, 2.89)

Rangers

LH C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94)

Watch for …

More Moore: The 22-year-old makes his second major-league start (fourth appearance) and says he doesn't expect to be intimidated by the stage. Texas' hitters, whom he has never faced, could be another story.

Leaning left: Wilson has allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine of his past 10 outings, including a complete-game shutout of the Rays on Sept. 6. In 18 appearances (five starts) against them, he is 5-0 with a 1.94 ERA.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Wilson

Casey Kotchman2-for-16

Evan Longoria2-for-14

B.J. Upton0-for-11

Projected lineups

Rays

1. Desmond Jennings LF

2. B.J. Upton CF

3. Evan Longoria 3B

4. Ben Zobrist 2B

5. Sean Rodriguez SS

6. Johnny Damon DH

7. Kelly Shoppach C

8. Casey Kotchman 1B

9. Matt Joyce or Justin Ruggiano RF

Rangers

1. Ian Kinsler 2B

2. Elvis Andrus SS

3. Josh Hamilton CF

4. Michael Young DH

5. Adrian Beltre 3B

6. Mike Napoli C

7. Nelson Cruz RF

8. David Murphy LF

9. Mitch Moreland 1B

List of the day

Most postseason games from 2008-10:

Team No. Rec.

Phillies 38 25-13

Yankees 24 16-8

Rays 21 10-11

Number of the day

30 Consecutive games won by the Rays when scoring five or more; they are 63-7 overall.

Quote of the day

"I just kept saying to (bench coach Davey Martinez), 'Do you believe this? Do you believe this?' I don't know how many times I said it. And I might have included a word I can't utilize right now."

Rays manager Joe Maddon on Evan Longoria's winning homer Wednesday

On deck

Saturday: Game 2, at Rangers, 7:07, TNT. Rays — James Shields (16-12, 2.82); Rangers — Derek Holland (16-5, 3.95)

Sunday: Workout at Tropicana Field

Monday: Game 3, vs. Ran­gers, 5:07, TBS. Rays — TBA; Rangers — TBA

Tuesday: Game 4 (if necessary), vs. Rangers, TBA, TBS. Rays — TBA; Rangers — TBA

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Game 5 (if necessary), at Rangers, TBA, TBS. Rays — TBA; Rangers — TBA

Tickets

Games 3 and 4 go on sale at 1 p.m. today at raysbaseball.com. Any remaining tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday at all team outlets, including the Tropicana Field box office, Tampa team store and via Ticketmaster.

Marc Topkin and Joe Smith, Times staff writers

Flashing red light of the day

Dan Johnson knew he'd have a lot of messages on his phone the day after his oh-so-dramatic ninth-inning tying homer Wednesday. What he didn't know was how he could have so many. "I've got 59 new messages and 48 new voicemails," said Johnson, right. "And I don't even know 60 people, so that's amazing."

Stat of the day

According to Nate Silver of the New York Times, Boston's odds of reaching the playoffs peaked on Sept. 3. Following a 12-7 win against the Rangers, the Red Sox held a nine-game lead over the Rays with 24 games to play, giving them a 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Change of heart of the day

Don Zimmer has seen a lot during his 60 years in baseball. By the sixth inning Wednesday, he figured he had seen enough. The Rays' special adviser left the Trop with his team in a 7-0 hole to the Yankees. About halfway home, he realized he had made a mistake. "I said to myself, 'What am I doing? I haven't even said goodbye to the guys,' " he told the Charlotte Sun. Zimmer, 80, raced back to the stadium and peeled into the players' parking lot only to find someone had parked in his space. He jumped out of the car and threw his keys to someone who looked like a parking attendant and told him to look after it. He reached the clubhouse in time to see the Rays embark on their historic comeback.

Tampa Bay Rays: Dan Johnson has messages; postseason veterans; Don Zimmer realizes his mistake 09/29/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 29, 2011 11:58pm]
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