Aight. The Rays are now 2-3 in their current 10-game home stand and they’ll attempt to tack another one on in the win column tonight when they take on Justin Masterson (6-8, 4.14 ERA) and the Cleveland Indians. The Rays, who scored four runs on seven hits last night, including extra base hits from ‘Los (two run homer) and Luke (triple), are licking their chops in anticipation for tonight’s game. Masterson is 1-7 with a 7.69 ERA in 12 appearances against the Rays. I should also mention that he’s 0-4 with an 8.46 ERA at Tropicana Field.
The Rays have posted a .349 BA/.421 OBP/.577 SLG/.998 OPS line against Masterson on the backs of 18 walks and 52 hits, including seven home runs and 13 doubles. Most of Tampa Bay’s regulars are hitting well over .300 against Masterson; B.J. Upton (6-13, two doubles, HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB) and Luke Scott (8-19, three doubles, HR, 7 RBI, BB) are leading the way, with Desmond Jennings, Carlos Pena, and Elliot Johnson following behind.
It would be beautiful to see that strong hitting against Masterson continue. Jeremy Hellickson (4-6, 3.48) would be the beneficiary of a win, and could sure use some run support. Though Helly pitched a good game Friday, he still lost his sixth straight decision nonetheless. He allowed three runs and five hits while walking four over six-plus innings. The Rays have totaled four runs in his last three starts. Yeesh. Hellickson is 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in two career starts against the Indians. The bullpen will also be leaning on Hellickson to go deep into the game tonight, after putting in 9-2/3 innings of work over the course of the last two games, bailing out both Alex Cobb and Matt Moore. This should be another fun one.
Noteworthiness: We could see the return on Sam Fuld by tomorrow at the earliest. Oh man, I can almost taste the end of the Hideki Matsui or Brooks Conrad era. Hey Matsui and Conrad, I saw what you did during batting practice yesterday, and unbeknownst to the rest of us, you both were able to put the bat on ye olde ball. Conrad, I know you can put the ball in play even though you’ve got what can be described as warning-track power. And Matsui, you were mashing the ball deep into the seats. Me thinks you’ve got no excuses!
Oh yeah, I’d like to know where Fernando Rodney fishes in his spare time. If y’all could help me in my query, I’d be greatly appreciative.
Rays 7/18/12 Starting Lineup: