Devils Rays Go For 3 Game Sweep of Rangers Print
Thursday, 17 May 2007 11:00

Enjoying Disney World

The Tampa Bay Devils Rays are sure enjoying Disney World.

Following their best offensive performance of the season, the Devil Rays try to complete a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers when the teams meet Thursday night.

Tampa Bay (17-22) is hosting this series from the minor league park at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Kissimmee to try and increase its fan base.

Oddsmakers have made Tampa Bay -150 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 56% of bets for this game have been placed on Chicago -110 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

So far the Devil Rays have given the fans plenty to cheer about, winning the opener over the Rangers 4-3 in 10 innings and following with an 11-8 victory on Wednesday.

"It would be nice if we can do it because a lot of people were thinking we might not do well with the home away from home thing,'' said Devil Rays left fielder Carl Crawford, who hit a bases loaded triple Wednesday.

The game drew a crowd of 8,839 fans, slightly more than 8,443 for the opener and more than the 8,241 the teams averaged for six dates last season at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Tampa Bay, seeking its first three-game sweep, set a season high in runs and matched its best effort with 15 hits to win three in a row for the first time in 2007. The Devil Rays haven't won four straight since May 18-21, 2006.

Delmon Young went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to boost his season average to .474 (9-for-19) against the Rangers, who have dropped three in a row and seven of their last nine. Texas (15-25) lost despite hitting three home runs Wednesday - its eighth straight game with at least one.

One of the players to connect was Sammy Sosa, who hit his 597th to move closer to becoming the fifth player with 600 homers. The two-run shot also extended his major league record for most ballparks homered in to 45.

"I work hard, go out there in the cage every day trying to figure out a plan that I've got to take to the plate," said Sosa, who has nine homers in 2007. "I'm a fighter. I'm going to go out there and try to do the best that I can.''

Sosa is 4-for-6 with a homer and a triple during his career versus Scott Kazmir (2-2, 3.96 ERA), who takes the mound for Tampa Bay. The left-hander is trying to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time this season after giving up five runs and a season-high nine hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-1 defeat to Toronto on Friday.

"He had trouble finding his release point,'' Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He battled through it again and gave us a chance to win.''

Kazmir is 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA in three career starts against Texas.

The Rangers' starting rotation owns the worst ERA in baseball at 6.22 and one of the culprits is Thursday's starter, Kameron Loe (1-3, 5.89).

The right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.43 ERA in his last four starts. He retired 16 of his last 18 batters Saturday, but gave up five runs and eight hits over a season-high seven innings in a 6-3 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.

Loe is 1-0 with a 5.17 ERA in seven career games, including two starts, versus the Devil Rays. He made two relief appearances against them this season, allowing two runs and five hits over four innings.

by: Michael Cash - – Email Us

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