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Tampa Bay Rays: Joe Maddon picks team's next travel theme; Rays AL East's hottest team over past month

Rays vs. Red Sox

When/where: 1:40 today; Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 970-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Tickets: $19-$300 at box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team store in Tampa; $3 surcharge within five hours of game.

Promotion: Rays fire helmet to first 10,000 kids 14 and under, mini-American flag to first 30,000 fans, Sept. 11 tribute and ceremonies.

Starting pitchers:

Rays

RH James Shields (14-10, 2.77)

Red Sox

LH Jon Lester (15-6, 2.93)

Watch for …

Shields up: Shields is coming off his MLB-best 11th complete game and going for his career-high 15th win. He hasn't had much success against the Sox: 1-2, 3.52 this season, 6-11, 4.84 overall.

Leaning left: Lester is basically the last man standing among Sox starters. He has allowed one earned run or none in his past five starts, going 4-0, 1.16. He is 10-4, 3.65 vs. Rays, 4-0, 2.92 at the Trop.

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Hot stuff

AL East standings since Aug. 8:

Rays 21-10 —

Yanks 18-13 3

R. Sox 15-17 6½

Jays 15-17 6½

O's 14-19 8

Fashion accessory of the day

The Rays on the next road trip will break out their new personalized team letterman sweaters, the latest brainstorm from manager Joe Maddon. "I think it's the right time for it; it's very cool," Maddon said. "I honestly believe … that's going to be a popular item and that every ballclub is going to want one on their web site." The Rays don't, yet anyway, have plans to sell them.

Tampa Bay Rays: Joe Maddon picks team's next travel theme; Rays AL East's hottest team over past month 09/11/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 11, 2011 1:50am]
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