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Rays Report

Tampa Bay Rays: Peña-Molina collision gets a football analogy from Joe Maddon; J.P. Howell suspects Jeremy Hellickson isn't working too hard on his free day

Rays vs. Royals

When/where: 7:10 tonight; Tropicana Field

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

Tickets: $9-210, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster, raysbaseball.com, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within 5 hours of game time.

Probable pitchers

Rays: RH Jeremy Hellickson (7-8, 3.39)

Royals: LH Will Smith (4-4, 5.09)

On Hellickson: Hard-luck loser in Wednesday's perfect game, but did work seven innings for first time since May 27. Winless in last seven home starts (since May 16), with a 5.45 ERA. Beat Royals in one 2011 start.

On Smith: Has been better since mid-July recall from minors, 3-2, 3.69 in six starts, with four quality starts in last five. Was 4-4, 3.61 in 15 games at Triple-A Omaha. First start vs. Rays.

Key matchups

Rays vs. Smith

None have faced

Royals vs. Hellickson

Billy Butler 1-for-3

Alex Gordon 1-for-4

Eric Hosmer 1-for-3

On deck

Tuesday: vs. Royals, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — David Price (16-4, 2.39); Royals — Luke Hochevar (7-11, 5.24)

Wednesday: vs. Royals, 1:10, Sun Sports. Rays — James Shields (11-7, 4.03); Royals — Luis Mendoza (7-8, 4.36)

Thursday: vs. A's, 7:10, Sun Sports. Rays — Alex Cobb (7-8, 4.74); A's — TBA

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Description of the day

"It's like the right tackle vs. maybe the outside linebacker."

Manager Joe Maddon, describing a collision between C Jose Molina and 1B Carlos Peña while chasing a pop-up.

Speculation of the day

"I know he's playing video games; he's online trying to beat up on an 8-year-old. Or he's trying to work on his tan."

LHP J.P. Howell on how RHP Jeremy Hellickson, who flew home ahead of the team, spent his free Sunday.

AL race for wild cards

Team W L Pct. GB

Tampa Bay 67 54 .554

Baltimore 66 55 .545—

Oakland 65 55 .5421/2

Detroit 64 57 .529 2

Los Angeles 62 60 .508 41/2

Shocking stat of the day

3

Steals by C Jose Molina, one fewer than OF Matt Joyce.

Tampa Bay Rays: Peña-Molina collision gets a football analogy from Joe Maddon; J.P. Howell suspects Jeremy Hellickson isn't working too hard on his free day 08/19/12 [Last modified: Sunday, August 19, 2012 10:39pm]
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