Jun 23, 2012, 2:01 PM EDT
Rain washed away Game 1 of the Phillies’ series with the Rays, forcing a double header on Sunday. Cliff Lee’s start was moved back until then, further delaying his first win of the season, whether that’s tomorrow, his next outing, or beyond. (By the way, he’s reportedly not happy about how his preparation was handled, either.) The Phils call Kyle Kendrick to the mound in Lee’s stead.
Exluding the On-Deck Series in ’09, tonight is the first time the Rays have business in Philadelphia since Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske to clinch the 2008 World Series — ah, the good ol’ days. The clubs last squared off in a meaningful series at Tropicana Field later the following year, during which Tampa Bay took two of three.
The Rays present a match-up problem for the Phils, that being they’re not an awful team. TB is 3.5 back of the Yankees in the AL East, and currently own one of the Wild Card spots. Their pitching staff is in possession of the second-best ERA in the league (3.49), and they 34 of the club’s 38 wins this season occurred in games where they held their opponent to four runs or less.
Last night’s probable James Shields (7-4, 3.72) still takes the hill today. He earned Tampa’s lone win in Game 2 of the WS, holding the once-potent Phillies to zero runs over 5.2 frames. However, not too many guys who would’ve seen Shields that night are in the lineup this afternoon, especially with Shane Victorino resting — just Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz.
Rollins was 0-for-3 off Shields during the postseason, and went 1-for-3 with a two-run double in their lone regular season face off back in 2006. Ruiz has only a pair of post-season at bats, going 1-for-1 with a double.
There are several players in the dugout who have seen quite a bit of Shields though, none more effective than Placido Polanco. The third baseman is 8-for-17 lifetime with a pair of home runs against Shields. Jim Thome (1) and Ty Wigginton (2) have also taken Shields over the fence.
Until recently, Kendrick (2-7, 5.29) had been reliable in a starting role for the Phillies, but recently has come down with a case of the Joe Blantons. He’s surrendered at least five earned runs in each of his last three appearances, growing his ERA over a full point in that short amount of time. He’s never pitched against Tampa Bay, so maybe he’ll have the element of surprise today.
At Citizens Bank Park, today’s lineup: Rollins. Pierre. Pence. Ruiz. Wigg 1b. Pol. Mayberry cf. Martinez 2b. KK bit.ly/MhkahI
— Amy Fadool (@amyfadoolCSN) June 23, 2012
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