Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays news and notes: Ben Francisco's Rays memory; Sam Fuld catches up with idol

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Rays vs. Rangers

When/where: 7:10 tonight; Tropicana Field

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

Tickets: $17-$275, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within five hours of game time.

Promotion: Postgame concert by Calvin Harris; Rays neon hat given out to first 10,000 fans

Probable pitchers

Rays: RH Jeremy Hellickson (8-10, 3.41)

Rangers: LH Derek Holland (10-6, 4.79)

On Hellickson: He has lost three of his past four starts, though he gave up two earned runs or fewer in three of them. He has made two career starts against the Rangers, including taking the loss in Game 4 of the AL Division Series last season.

On Holland: He has won his past three starts, including allowing five runs (three earned) over six innings in a victory over the Rays last week. He is 4-2 with a 6.20 ERA in seven career starts against Tampa Bay.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Holland

Evan Longoria 8-for-19, 2 HRs

Jeff Keppinger 4-for-11

B.J. Upton 8-for-17, HR

Rangers vs. Hellickson

Ian Kinsler 0-for-4

Josh Hamilton 2-for-3, HR

Adrian Beltre 2-for-2, 2 HRs

On deck

Saturday: vs. Rangers, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — David Price (17-5, 2.54); Rangers — Yu Darvish (14-9, 4.29)

Sunday: vs. Rangers, 1:40, Sun Sports. Rays — James Shields (13-8, 3.88); Rangers — Matt Harrison (15-9, 3.37)

Monday: Off

Tuesday: at Orioles, 7:05, Sun Sports. Rays — TBA; Orioles — TBA

Rays disabled list

(with eligible-to-return date)

*C Robinson Chirinos, concussion, 60-day, June 5

*OF Brandon Guyer, left shoulder surgery, 60-day, July 13

INF Sean Rodriguez, right hand fracture, 15-day, Sept. 15

* out for season

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

AL East

Team W L Pct. GB

Baltimore77 60.562—

New York7760 .562—

Tampa Bay 75 62 .547 2

Boston 63 75 .457141/2

Toronto 61 75 .449 151/2

AL race for wild cards

Team W L Pct. GB

Bal./N.Y.7760 .562—

Oakland 76 60 .559—

Tampa Bay 75 62 .547 11/2

Los Angeles 74 63 .540 21/2

Detroit 73 63 .537 3

Top two wild cards make postseason; GB is games behind second wild card

Number of the day

11 Times the Rangers have been picked off base this season, the most in the majors entering Thursday



Fuld's favorite

OF Sam Fuld, top, has idolized former longtime OF Brett Butler, bottom, since he was a kid, saying the 5-foot-10 scrappy player inspired him to think he could also make it to the big leagues. And a few weeks ago, Fuld finally got a chance to speak with Butler on the phone, hooked up by INF Ryan Roberts, who had played for Butler with the Diamondbacks' Triple-A team in Reno. Butler said he was "moved" by an online article Fuld wrote about him and invited the Ray out to Arizona. "(Roberts) said Butler would have loved me," Fuld said. "That I was his kind of player."

Fitting first

Recently acquired OF Ben Francisco can thank Tampa Bay for one of his most memorable moments: his first big-league hit and walkoff homer in his first big-league start June 27, 2007, with the Indians against the then-Devil Rays. "We were in a pennant race that year, too, so just winning the game like that and celebrating was pretty cool," he said.

   
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