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Tampa Bay Rays up next: vs. Florida Marlins

What's new: The Marlins are playing a lot better than when the Rays saw them last month, winning 19 of 30 games and winning series against the Yankees, Jays and Orioles. Starting pitching has been a big part of it, led by ace Josh Johnson, who faces the Rays tonight. They're getting offense from the whole lineup, sparked by OF Cody Ross and SS Hanley Ramirez. The bullpen is a mess, though, with closer Matt Lindstrom out six weeks and no experienced replacement.

Key stat: The Marlins are 8-3 in 11 one-run games in June and 14-8 overall in one-run games. The Rays are 8-14.

Connections: Marlins INF Jorge Cantu is an ex-Ray, OF Chris Coghlan (whose hard slide injured Akinori Iwamura's knee) an East Lake High product, 1B Ross Gload a former USF star, bench coach Carlos Tosca a USF grad and Valrico resident. Rays RHP Joe Nelson and INF Joe Dillon are former Marlins.

Series history: Rays won two of three last month; Marlins lead 36-28 overall, 15-14 at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay Rays up next: vs. Florida Marlins 06/25/09 [Last modified: Friday, June 26, 2009 8:39am]
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