Rays Report

Tampa Bay Rays: J.P. Howell hopes haircut changes luck; Rays' Twitter followers invited to gather at Trop; stat shows Rays not rewarding their pitchers' quality starts

Rays vs. Blue Jays

When/where: 12:10 today; Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

Starting pitchers:

Rays:

RH Wade Davis (8-7, 4.62)

Jays:

LH Brett Cecil (4-4, 4.34)

Watch for ...

Wading in: Davis settled down after a five-run first in Oakland last week to get the win, his first in his past four starts. He has allowed 15 runs in his past three outings and is 2-2 with a 2.80 ERA in five career starts vs. Jays.

Leaning left: Cecil's on a roll, having won back-to-back starts — both against the Rangers — and allowing one earned run over 16 combined innings. He's 4-2, 4.69 in eight career appearances (seven starts) vs. Rays.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Cecil

Evan Longoria 9-for-17

B.J. Upton 3-for-17

Ben Zobrist 4-for-16, HR

Jays vs. Davis

Aaron Hill 5-for-13, HR

Yunel Escobar 4-for-11

Jose Bautista 1-for-13

On deck

Friday: A's, 7:10 p.m., Sun Sports. Rays — Jeff Niemann (5-4, 3.51); A's — Guillermo Moscoso (4-5, 3.41)

Saturday: A's, 7:10 p.m., Sun Sports. Rays — Alex Cobb (3-1, 2.79); A's — Brandon McCarthy (4-5, 3.58)

Sunday: A's, 1:40 p.m., Sun Sports. Rays — Jeremy Hellickson (10-7, 3.15); A's — Trevor Cahill (9-10, 3.91)

Haircut of the day

LHP J.P. Howell decided to cut off a lot of his long locks on Monday's off day, saying he "needed a change." Howell, who entered Wednesday's game with an 8.68 ERA, originally thought of shaving it all off but instead had 4-5 inches clipped. He admitted his wife, Heather, likely would not have liked the bald look. "God, she would have freaked out," Howell said, smiling.

Tweet up

The Rays will try to unite the Twitter followers of their team — and players — in their first Tweet-Up during today's game. Fans can buy $50 tickets to be in the same Papa John's Bullpen box, a deal that includes food, drinks and a postgame Q&A with CNBC business reporter Darren Rovell. Go to raysbaseball.com/tweetup with promo code "tweet".

Number of the day

17 Times the Rays have lost a game after the Rays' starting pitcher turned in a quality start, second behind only the Angels (18).

Tampa Bay Rays: J.P. Howell hopes haircut changes luck; Rays' Twitter followers invited to gather at Trop; stat shows Rays not rewarding their pitchers' quality starts 08/04/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 4, 2011 12:10am]

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