The Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins will begin a three game series this weekend at the new Marlins Park. Both the Rays and Marlins are in the hunt for first place in the American League and National League Eastern Divisions.
This series will also be the first opportunity for the Rays to check out the Marlins new digs. Miami is averaging over 28,000 fans per game this season or 75 percent of capacity. That is an improvement of over 9,000 fans from last season in Sun Life Stadium when the Marlins were 28th in league attendance. Both teams will meet again in interleague action next weekend at Tropicana Field. The Rays have made a slight improvement in attendance this season from last, going from 18,878 fans last season to 19,504 in 2012.
Both teams have strong pitching ranking in the top ten in the majors in ERA. The Rays (3.47) are fifth overall and number one in the AL while the Marlins (3.71) are tenth overall and 4th in the NL.
The Marlins and Rays head into their weekend set each looking to bounce back, losing key divisional series heading in. Tampa Bay dropped their tilt with the New York Yankees while Miami got swept at home by the Atlanta Braves.
I broke down the Rays season to this point with Laura McKeeman who is part of the Rays television coverage on Sun Sports. I spoke with Laura late on Wednesday prior to the Yankees-Rays game and we discussed the Rays season and recapped what the team did in the draft this week. We also looked ahead to the rest of the season.[audio:1080/Laura_Mckeeman.mp3|titles=Laura Mckeeman of Sun Sports]
Along with fellow Insider Carson Ingle, I also got a chance to talk talk to the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Marlins beat writer Juan C Rodriguez on Thursday as we talked about how the Marlins season has gone down so far with high expectations, a new stadium, and what the keys are for the the rest of the season.[audio:1080/Juan_C_Rodriguez.mp3|titles=Juan C. Rodriguez of Sun Sentinel]