As if being tied for the American League wild card playoff spots wasn’t enough to make the four-game series with Texas at the Trop officially a big deal, the Rays face old buddy RHP Matt Garza in tonight’s opener.
“Obviously I loved having him on my team,” 3B Evan Longoria said. “He’s a competitor, and he’s got good stuff. I think it will be a pretty intense game, not only because you want to go out there — it’s just like facing (former teammate James) Shields — and do well against him and have those bragging rights, but at the same time, there’s much more at stake. The implications are far more reaching in relation to the team and where both (teams) stand and the importance of the series.”
Garza, traded to the Cubs for a package featuring RHP Chris Archer, OF Sam Fuld and injured SS Hak-Ju Lee in January 2011, faces the Rays for the first time. He has stayed in touch with several former teammates, exchanging text messages with manager Joe Maddon and planning to stay at LHP David Price’s place this week.
Source: Tampa Bay Times