American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, August 10th
(All times eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (59-52) at Minnesota Twins (49-62), 8:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (6-7, 3.43)
Minnesota - Cole De Vries (2-2, 3.81)
(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays will begin their second lengthy road
trip in less than a fortnight when they invade the Twin Cities this evening to
take on Minnesota in the opener of a three-game series at Target Field.
Tampa Bay also will visit Seattle and the LA Angels on its 10-game road trip
and went 6-3 on a recent road swing from July 24-Aug. 1. The club then
returned home for six games versus Baltimore and Toronto, and recorded a
three-game sweep of the Blue Jays with Thursday's 7-1 triumph at Tropicana
Evan Longoria continued to swing the bat well since coming off the disabled
list and went 3-for-5 with two RBI. Longoria is batting .333 with three RBI
and a .417 slugging percentage in three games since being activated because
of a hamstring injury.
Jeff Keppinger had three hits and a run scored for Tampa Bay, which is only
one-half game off a Wild Card spot and went 4-2 on the homestand. The Rays
completed their first sweep since June 8-10 at Miami and notched their first
three-game winning streak since winning four in a row from June 7-10. They
also picked up the first sweep at home since April 30-May 3 against Seattle.
"I think the offense is gonna continue to show signs of improvement," Rays
manager Joe Maddon said. "If we can play our regular game and do that
offensively, we can get on a nice little run right here."
Matt Moore started for the Rays and earned the win with six innings of one-run
ball, six strikeouts and only two walks. Kyle Farnsworth, J.P. Howell and Wade
Davis combined to throw three scoreless innings of relief.
The Rays, who are 8-16 against the AL Central this season, will pin pitching
duties on Jeremy Hellickson Friday and he hopes to get back into the win
column. Since winning two straight starts, Hellickson fell back into the loss
column with Saturday's 4-0 setback to Baltimore. He allowed four runs and
eight hits in four innings and is now 6-7 in 20 starts with a 3.43 ERA.
Hellickson, a right-hander, is 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA in three career starts
against the Twins and 3-1 in eight road assignments this season.
Minnesota is back home for a six-game residency and went 5-2 on a road trip
against Boston and Cleveland. The Twins had won nine of 12 games overall and
seven in a row against the Indians until dropping a 6-2 decision Wednesday.
Brian Duensing didn't do much to help his record and fell to 2-7 after giving
up six runs -- four earned -- and 11 hits in seven innings.
"Tough ballgame for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Duensing deserved
a little better than he got. We just didn't play well out there."
Alexi Casilla finished 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in defeat. Ben Revere was
hitless in four at-bats and saw his 21-game hitting streak come to an end.
The Twins, who will also visit Detroit on the trek, hope rookie Cole De Vries
can pitch them back into the win column when he takes the mound Friday. De
Vries is 2-2 with a 3.81 earned run average and has posted four straight no-
decisions. In a 6-4 win at Boston on Saturday, the right-hander held the Red
Sox to a pair of runs and four hits in seven innings.
De Vries is 1-1 in five starts at Target Field and will face Tampa Bay for the
first time. He went 3-5 with a 4.37 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Rochester
before having his contract selected.
Minnesota lost two of three matchups to Tampa Bay at the Trop from April 20-22
this season and went 3-7 in this series a year ago.
08/10 10:48:27 ET