The Tampa Bay Rays and Florida Marlins are set to continue their in-state rivalry in interleague play with the second game of a four-game set at Sun Life Stadium
Tampa Bay Rays at Florida Marlins
Tampa Bay came up a little short in the battle between Sunshine State team’s Friday night, dropping a 5-3 contest at Sun Life Stadium. “They’re a good ball club, it felt a little big like we were looking in a mirror,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon. “They play with a lot of energy. They’ve got some really interesting position players on the field.” Despite the loss, the Rays still have the best road record in the Major Leagues at 14-7 and they remained a game ahed of the Yankees and Red Sox in the American League East. The club possesses the second-worst record of any AL team when it comes to Interleague Play, with a 106-127 all-time mark. Tampa Bay is 9-9 in day games this season.
Rays starting pitcher David Price is 5-3 with a 3.59 ERA in nine starts this season and has won his last two decisions. The left-hander picked up a no decision in his last effort at home versus the Yankees, surrendering five runs and six hits over five innings of work, which was his second-shortest outing of the season. Price has registered a solid 3-1 mark and 3.34 ERA in four road starts, issuing just five walks and striking out 17 in 29 2/3 frames. In two career appearances versus the Marlins, he is an even 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA.
Florida has registered a solid 41-33 all-time mark against Tampa Bay, but had lost 12 of 14 to its in-state foe before going 4-2 last season. The Marlins avoided a third straight loss by overcoming a 2-0 deficit, led by the offensive exploits of Logan Morrison, who was 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs. “We never give up,” Morrison commented. “Just because we’re doing, we’re not out.” The club always looks forward to this time of year, owning the highest winning percentage (.543) among all National League teams during Interleague Play, holding an all-time record of 127-107. Florida has struggled a bit in May, but the offense continues to rank in the top half of the league, scoring 4.29 runs per game.
Marlins starting pitcher Javier Vazquez is 2-4 with a 7.55 ERA in eight starts this season and will be looking to snap a season-worst two-game losing streak. Over those two outings, the veteran right-hander has allowed 12 runs (11 earned) and 16 hits over 8 1/3 frames. Vazquez is searching for his first home win of the 2011 campaign, entering with an 0-3 record and 8.53 ERA, as he’s managed just six strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings. He will be making his 17th career appearance (15th start) versus the Rays, posting a 5-5 mark and 4.97 ERA.
Bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 16-5 record in Price’s last 21 road starts, while the Marlins are 1-6 in their last seven games following a win