Devil Rays Look To Take Series At Texas

Edwin Jackson was dominant in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night. Yes, we're talking about the same Edwin Jackson who went into the All-Star break with a 1-9 record and 7.23 ERA. But in an impressive performance yesterday, Jackson (3-11) scattered four hits, struck out eight, and only walked one batter in a complete game shutout.

Edwin Jackson was dominant in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' 3-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night. Yes, we're talking about the same Edwin Jackson who went into the All-Star break with a 1-9 record and 7.23 ERA. But in an impressive performance yesterday, Jackson (3-11) scattered four hits, struck out eight, and only walked one batter in a complete game shutout to earn his third victory of the season for Tampa Bay. Perhaps just as encouraging for the Devil Rays and manager Joe Maddon, the hard-throwing righty seemed to get stronger as the game went on – even getting clocked at 99 mph as late as the ninth inning.

Jackson's effort was the first complete game shutout by a Devil Rays starting pitcher in a litter under a year. It also marked the first shutout of his young career. With the win, he's now 3-11 with a 5.84 ERA in 22 starts for the Devil Rays.

Carl Crawford, who is leading all American League hitters in batting average since the All-Star break, continued his hot-hitting ways in the victory. Crawford finished the night 2-for-4 with a triple, his team-leading ninth three-bagger of the season, and a run scored to improve his constantly-rising batting average to .318. He is now 22-for-37, good for a .595 batting average, over his last eight games to go along with two home runs, five RBIs, and 13 runs scored during that time. Rookie Delmon Young also had two hits, his 28th and 29th doubles of the season, an RBI, and scored a run in the win. Young – leading all American League rookies with 137 hits – drove in Crawford with an RBI double in the first inning, which proved to be the only run that Jackson and the Devil Rays would need.

On Sunday, the Devil Rays will look to take the rubber game of the three-game series. And Crawford will look to improve upon a career-best 13-game hitting streak, but in an unusual role – as the Devil Rays designated hitter. Jonny Gomes will make the start in left field for Crawford, who is the last of Tampa Bay's starting outfielders to be given a day of rest by Maddon in the series. B.J. Upton and Delmon Young each started a game at designated hitter earlier in the weekend.

Carlos Pena, who took the day off on Saturday, will be back in the lineup for Sunday night's series finale. Pena has been the Devil Rays most productive hitter this season and is leading the team with 26 home runs and 73 RBIs.

Jason Hammel will make the start, his fifth of the season, for the Devil Rays. The right-hander is currently 1-1 with a 6.09 ERA this season, as both a reliever and a starter. The 24-year-old allowed five earned runs in only four innings in his previous start, a no-decision on August 7 in a loss to the Detroit Tigers.

Kason Gabbard, recently acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the deal that sent Eric Gagne to the Boston Red Sox, will take the mound for Texas. In his previous two starts with the club, Gabbard is 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA. The left-hander is 5-1 with a 3.93 ERA this season.

In a rare Sunday night game, the first pitch is scheduled for 8:35. Tragically for the die-hard Devil Rays fans out there, there will be no television coverage of tonight's game due to a conflict with ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball Game of the Week. I guess that GameTracker will just have to do for the night.

Other News and Notes:

On Monday, the Devil Rays will travel to Boston to open up a two-game series with the Red Sox. And good news for the Devil Rays, James Shields and Scott Kazmir – the Devil Rays most consistent two starting pitchers all year – are scheduled to start for the Tampa Bay, on Monday and Tuesday respectively.

Yesterday, Tampa Bay signed Joseph Cruz, the team's 30th round selection in this year's draft. Cruz, a talented right-handed pitcher from South Hills High School in California, opted to sign with the Devil Rays instead of attending East Los Angeles College.

David Price, the number one overall pick in the draft, remains unsigned. The Devil Rays have until August 15, thanks to Major League Baseball's new set or rules, to sign the former Vanderbilt left-hander.


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