Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's Tampa Bay Time Again!

One of the highlights of '05 for me happened around this time last year. The Yankees were struggling, and they had a four-game set against Tampa Bay. I figured, "if the Yanks are gonna turn it on, it's probably gonna happen now. Four games against Tampa Bay is a huge treat for them." Of course, that series turned out to be a treat for Yankee-haters all over. And until TB got swept in September, the fun lasted all summer. And it gave some of the Rays' young starts some exposure, like Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes.

The reason the Rays won was the explosive offense; and that hasn't changed much since last year, except for Randy-killer Eduardo Perez going to the Indians. For better or worse, the Rays miss Johnson this series. And the rest of the offense is picking up where it left off; Gomes is off to a torrid start, with 9 dingers already. The pitching, unfortunately, is pretty much the same, except for a couple of guys they got in the Danys Baez trade.

Game One is a pretty good pitching matchup - Kazmir vs. Mussina. Moose has been good his last few times out, so he's due for a bad outing. Kazmir did pretty well against New York last year - 1-1, 2.77.

Game 2 looks like a slugfest - McLung, who has a 6.75 lifetime ERA, goes for TB. And Wang, who, as Joel Sherman put it, looks "ordinary" this year - goes for the Yanks.

Game 3: Chacon, who struggled worse than his numbers showed on Saturday, vs. former Net Mark Hendrickson. Mark went 3-0 vs. the Yanks last year.

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