Below is a guest post from our buddy Marquis Heilig at The Ray Area. As you can see, we’re both trying reverse psychology on ourselves in anticipation of this week’s Indians-Rays series.
Sure, the Rays have been white-hot over the last 2 or 3 weeks. Sure, they have erased that 0-6 start to become the 4th team in Major League history to go from 0-6 to first place. But, the nervous cynic in me knows that it might just be smoke and mirrors.
I mean, 19 of the Rays’ 20 wins have come against teams below .500. And Cleveland is decidedly ABOVE .500. Color me nervous.
Why am I nervous? The skipper decided not to use the off day to reset the rotation and, instead, is starting mop-up man Andy Sonnanstine in the series opener. Because nothing bad can happen when Andy Sonnanstine pitches in his hometown, right? (Somewhere, Ben Francisco just died laughing. Sonnanstine has a 10.67 ERA in three career starts at the Jake. At least Francisco got dealt. That should help.)
If the Rays have any hope in the ballpark that has been a house of horrors (anyone remember watching Jason Isringhausen blow a 92-run lead a few years ago?), they are going to need gems from David Price and James Shields in games 2 and 3. Then, the offense is going to have to back up those gems without BJ Upton (who, for reasons passing understanding, has chosen to serve part of his suspension against the best team in baseball rather than serving it against AL East cellar-dweller Baltimore) against a team that has allowed less than 3 runs per game during a 13-game home win streak. Great.
Here’s hoping we don’t slink out of Cleveland to go home and get fat against the sub.500 Orioles.