Red hot Rays host downtrodden Twins


Throwback days can be hard for young franchises, and never has that point been more obvious than in the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday night win over the White Sox.

Unfortunately for the Twins, who travel to Tampa Bay for the second series of their 10-game east coast road trip, it hasn't mattered what jerseys the Rays have been wearing recently, having won eight of their last nine.

In that span, they've outscored opponents 49-17. A pitching staff that had struggled to find their groove, hovering around the bottom third in the AL in ERA most of the year, seems to be hitting their stride. Couple that with an offense that is in the top ten in the majors in nearly every offensive category, and you have a hard charging AL East beast that is nine games over .500.

The only good news for the Twins? They miss David Price, who went the distance yesterday in a 3-1 win to complete the Rays sweep of the pale hose. You might remember Price from such seasons as his Cy Young year of 2012:

Minnesota couldn't be trending any harder in the other direction from Tampa. They've lost seven of eight, 12 of 16, and have given up 64 runs in their last 10, nearly triple the amount the Rays have given up in that period.

The pitching staff is still the worst in the AL, although as some point out, there may not have been much Terry Ryan could have done this offseason to improve a staff that was as bad last year as it is this season.

The club is double digits out of first place in the AL Central for the first time all season, and it's just a week removed from being in the heart of the divisional race. With the road trip less than half over and the Yankees on the horizon, it might only get worse.

Four in Tampa, and it begins tonight, with Sam Deduno taking the ball for Minnesota, he's posted a quality start in three of his last four trips to the mound. Double digit loser Roberto Hernandez will trot out at Tropicana Field for Tampa at 6:10 tonight.

Here's the rest of the expected pitching matchups for the series:

Kyle Gibson (1-1, 3rd career start) vs. Chris Archer (2-3, 12th career start).

Kevin Correia (6-6, has given up seven hits or more 9 of last 11 starts) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (8-3, has given up combined two runs last three starts).

Mike Pelfrey (4-6, brilliant in first start off DL Saturday) vs. Matt Moore (12-3, carrying 17 2/3 scoreless inning streak).

If you can't get excited about the big club, at least Vance Worley has won his last five starts in Rochester!

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