The Rays bats exploded last night in the 8th inning. Daniel Cabrera had held the Rays pretty silent through six, but after he came out the Rays made there move. The Rays scored 11 runs in the 8th inning off of 4 pitchers. The strange thing was that the Rays scored the 11 runs with only one extra base hit, a Gomes double. This was the first time all year that the Rays were in the opposite end of a bullpen explosion. It was important for the Rays to take game one of the three game series because they have James Shields and Scott Kazmir going in the next two games and it gives them a good shot of taking the series and possibly even sweeping it.
Tonight the Rays send Shields to the mound to face off against former Rays Steve Trachsel. Trachsel has lost 4 of his last 5 games, but he does have 4 quality outings in those 5 games. Shields on the other hand enters the game with a 2.77 ERA in his last 6 games and has a 5 game quality start streak going. Shields did lose his last game against the Orioles at home, when Aubrey Huff hit a 3 run blast off of him to get the Orioles ahead an they went on to win the game 3-1.
The offense will continue to blast away against Trachsel this evening. Ever since Rays coach Steve Henderson had a meeting with the Rays about how bad they were hitting they are 4-1, and have averaged 10 runs per game. Another reason for the possible turn around is the change in the lineup that Maddon implemented. Maddon moved Upton to the four hole behind Pena, which has allowed Pena to get some better pitches and BJ has felt more comfortable being the cleanup guy. One negative consequence maybe that BJ Upton runs even less than he has been. Delmon Young is behind BJ and he is not the most patient hitter, which will give BJ less opportunities to steal. As long as they keep scoring it doesn't matter, but for those of you who are into fantasy baseball may feel the effects.
Hopefully the Rays can keep it up tonight with one of their Aces on the mound and get a winning streak going into the Yankees series this weekend. For more on the Orioles check out our behind enemy lines affiliate The Loss Column.