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Tampa Bay Rays up next: at Oakland A's

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What's new: The A's have struggled of late, having lost six of their past nine. Their offense is ranked 12th of 14 American League teams, but they've been buoyed by their pitching staff, which entered Wednesday with the best ERA (3.55) in the league. The A's have been without the services of closer Andrew Bailey (intercostal strain).

Key stat: Minus Bailey, the A's bullpen entered Wednesday's game with a 3.13 ERA in August.

Connections: A's OF Gabe Gross is an ex-Ray, and RHP Boof Bonser is a St. Petersburg native. Rays first-base coach George Hendrick began his career in Oakland. 1B Carlos Peña played there in 2002. SS Jason Bartlett, C John Jaso and RHP Matt Garza and grew up in Northern California.

Series history: The Rays lost two of three in Oakland May 7-9, including Dallas Braden's perfect game. But they swept a two-game series at Tropicana Field April 27-28. The A's lead the all-time series 74-44, 41-16 in Oakland.

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rays up next: at Oakland A's 08/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 19, 2010 7:24am]
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