The Rays head into Coors Field to take on the Colorado Rockies for a 3-game series. The Rays will send Matt Moore (5-0, 1.13 ERA) up against Jeff Francis (1-2, 7.29 ERA) on Friday evening at 8:40, David Price (1-2, 5.21 ERA) vs Jon Garland (2-2, 4.64 ERA) on Saturday evening at 8:10, and Alex Cobb (3-2, 2.55 ERA) vs Tyler Chatwood (1-0, 3.00 ERA) on Sunday afternoon at 4:10.
The Rays pitchers will face a Rockies lineup that would be formidable if they played in the American League. The lineup most likely to be utilized by Rockies manager Walt Weiss includes Eric Young Jr. (RF), Dexter Fowler (CF), Carlos Gonzalez (LF), Troy Tulowitzki (SS), Michael Cuddyer (1B), Wilin Rosario (C), Nolan Arenado (3B), and Josh Rutledge (2B). Six members of the Rockies have an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of greater then .800 and the NL average is only .704.
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This weekend also begins the Inter-League portion of the Rays 2013 schedule. Last year the Rays went 9-9 against their National League opponents and since 2008 they have an Inter-League record 53-37.
Inter-league play means that Rays pitchers will have to take their turn in the batters box which is something that excites about David Price. Price routinely boasts about his power output during batting practice home run derby contests held among the pitchers and is eager to join fellow Rays pitcher Esteban Yan as the only Rays pitchers ever to hit a home run (June 4, 2000). If Price were to homer he has his home run trot all choreographed (video courtesy Cork Gaines of Rays Index):
[iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/bpIbTYsnwYw” frameborder=”0″]
Of the trio of starting pitchers going for the Rays this weekend David Price has 20 plate appearances and is hitting .111 (2 for 18) with 2 walks and has struck out 9 times. Matt Moore has 5 plate appearances and is still searching for his first big league hit but has registered a walk. Sunday afternoon will mark Alex Cobb‘s first ever plate appearance in the major leagues. On the other end of the spectrum, the Rays pitcher with the most plate appearances is reliever Jamey Wright who over an 18 year big league career has 501 plate appearances and hit .146 (26 for 438) including a home run.