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Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014

Rays Report

A baseball blog by Roger Mooney

Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald.

Rays aim for .500, to pick up ground in race

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ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays begin an important six-game homestand tonight that features two of the five teams they are chasing for an AL Wild Card spot – the Yankees and Tigers.

Up first are the AL East rivals Yankees.

Desmond Jennings returns to the Rays lineup after missing the last two games with a sore left shoulder sustained while running into the wall Tuesday night in Arlington.

A win tonight and the Rays will even their season record at .500, making them one of only four teams in major league history to reach .500 after being at least 18 games under .500 earlier in the season. The others: the 1899 Louisville Cardinals (22 games under), 2006 Marlins (20 games under) and the 2004 Devil rays (18 games under). None of those three finished with a winning record.

Alex Cobb (7-6, 3.41) faces Brandon McCarthy (4-1, 2.21 since joining the Yankees) in the lid-lifter of the series.

The Trop will be the popular spot in town this weekend. Saturday’s game is sold-out and Sunday is close to a sell-out.

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES

Gardner LF

Jeter SS

Ellsbury CF

Teixeira 1B

Beltran DH

Headley 3B

Drew 2B

Prado RF

Cervelli C

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McCarthy RHP

RAYS

Jennings CF

Zobrist LF

Joyce DH

Longoria 3B

Loney 1B

Forsythe 2B

Escobar SS

Casali C

Kiermaier RF

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Cobb RHP

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