The Rays are getting set to open a 3 game series with the Pirates tonight, will they be able to make it back-to-back road sweeps?
Points to ponder:
The Rays pitchers for the 3-game set are:
Scott Kazmir, LHP (6-3, 2.03)
Edwin Jackson, RHP (4-6, 4.35)
Andy Sonnanstine, RHP (8-3, 4.85)
The Pirates pitchers:
Jimmy Barthmaier, RHP (0-0, -.--)
Tom Gorzelanny, LHP (6-6, 6.43)
Advantage: Uh, Duh... Rays.
Defensively: The Rays have recorded 19 less errors than the Pirates. Call me a homer, but anytime Dirtbag is playing third that's an inherent advantage right off the top.
Offensively: The Rays and Pirates have fairly similar offensive numbers with BA, OBP, and SLG all within a few hundredths of each other. The Rays have stolen substantially more bases with a league-leading 85, whereas the Pirates have a league-low 23. The Pirates have struck-out less, but they've also walked less. Pittsburgh has also scored more runs so far this season (382 versus Tampa's 365)
Advantage: I give a slight edge to The Rays, due to the dispairity in stolen bases.
Mindset: The Rays are preparing for another homestand v. Boston, so their heads may be on the wrong series. If they lose focus Pittsburgh could sneak up on them. The Pirates aren't well known for looking ahead, or backward, or really paying attention at all.
Well, I say even though all signs point to yes, with Jackson/Sonny pitching I never rule out an aweful game, so I'll say a resounding NO. Two out of three will suffice.