Monday, 7:05: Edwin Jackson vs. Brandon McCarthy (0-1, 4.50)
Tuesday, 7:05: Jae Seo, (0-0, 7.11) vs. Jamey Wright
Wednesday, 7:05: James Shields (0-0, 4.05) vs. Robinson Tejeda (1-0, 0.00)
Keys To Victory
1. No need for speed
It's a well-known fact that the Devil Rays are a bunch of speed demons on the basepaths. Led by Carl Crawford, who has piled up 228 stolen bases during his six years of ball in the majors, there's fast guys up and down the Rays lineup and bench. Elijah Dukes and Delmon Young are two rookies who also possess that same kind of breakneck speed to make life miserable for opposing catchers. Chris Stewart, who will make his Ranger debut Monday night, and Gerald Laird must be on top of their game in order to keep the Rays from turning this series into a track meet.
2. Get to the bullpen
In their history, the bullpen has never been a strong point for the Devil Rays. Last year's pen ranked 12th out of 14 teams with a 4.96 earned run average. And, much like last year, the Rays have no proven closer and instead will depend on one time Cardinal Al Reyes to handle closing duties for as long as they feel he can get the job done. If there is one upside, it's that manager Joe Maddon has a host of characters to pick and choose from to fill out the needs of various in game situations.
3. The time is Wright
On Tuesday, Jamey Wright will set out to prove he was the right choice to fill out the final spot in the starting rotation. In the minor league season opener during his week spent at Double-A Frisco, Wright started the game off shaky and was touched for a run after just two batters. He was finished after four innings, allowing six hits and two runs, but blames part of his struggles with not being able to get properly warmed up in the unusually cold April weather. Wright has never had a lot of velocity on his fastballs, so the key to being successful in his first start will lie with his breaking pitches.