Astros-Rays Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 11, 2013
The Tampa Bay Rays are capitalizing on a favorable portion of their schedule. Giving the ball to David Price could help them continue their winning ways. The left-hander goes for his third consecutive victory - and second over the major league-worst Houston Astros - since returning from the disabled list when the Rays go for their first nine-game winning streak in nine seasons Friday night. Tampa Bay has won 12 of 13 to move a season-best 13 games over .500. Its last 11 games have come against the AL's three worst teams - Houston (32-59), Chicago and Minnesota. The Rays (53-40) have a chance for their longest undefeated stretch since a franchise-record 12-game surge June 9-22, 2004. They're averaging 5.2 runs in the last 13 games, with their starters posting a 2.13 ERA. "It's simple, age-tested formula," manager Joe Maddon said after Thursday's 4-3 victory over the Twins. "We pitched well, we caught it and got some clutch hits. There's a lot of belief within the group." That confidence is even higher with Price (3-4, 4.18 ERA) winning both of his starts after missing nearly seven weeks with a triceps strain. The reigning AL Cy Young winner needed just 98 pitches to throw a complete game in Sunday's 3-1 victory over the White Sox. "I felt better five days ago," Price told the Rays' official website, referring to an 8-0 victory at Houston on July 2 when he struck out a season-high 10 in seven innings. "My fastball location was still there. If I can have command of that pitch, I feel like I can be successful at this level." Standing in the way of the Rays' 10th consecutive home win is an Astros team that's dropped 15 of 21, including three of four at home to Tampa Bay from July 1-4. Houston continues its eight-game trip with Jarred Cosart slated to make his major league debut. The right-hander, acquired from Philadelphia in the 2011 Hunter Pence deal, was 7-4 with a 3.29 ERA with Triple-A Oklahoma City. "I don't know much about the Rays, but I know (All-Star catcher Jason) Castro is great with scouting reports and (pitching coach Doug Brocail) and those guys will help me do what I need to do," Cosart told MLB's official website. Cosart can't expect much support with the Astros hitting .209 and averaging 3.4 runs during a 2-10 stretch. Jose Altuve, the team's leading hitter at .284, is batting .213 over those 12 games, while Chris Carter, Brandon Barnes, Matt Dominguez and Castro are hitting a combined .174 with 46 strikeouts. However, Brett Wallace is batting .417 with two homers and six RBIs over the last six games after setting a career high with four hits in Wednesday's 5-4 loss to St. Louis. He matched Carter with team highs of two homers and four RBIs against Tampa Bay earlier this month. "(Wallace is) staying on the ball and hitting with a lot of confidence right now," manager Bo Porter said. So is Rays designated hitter Luke Scott, who's batting .458 with two homers during a seven-game hitting streak. Desmond Jennings had eight hits in the series in Houston and drove in a career high-tying four runs July 2 to back up Price, who improved to 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against the Astros - both in Houston. The Astros took two of three in their only series visiting the Rays from June 20-22, 2008.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Soccer player terminates contract after being attacked by stray dogs

Todd Bowles confirms Ryan Fitzpatrick is Jets starting QB: ‘It’s his job’

Carmelo Anthony shocked Dwyane Wade left Miami for Chicago

Report: David Lee signs with the Spurs

Craig Sager to miss Olympics while undergoing bone marrow transplant


Jarryd Hayne wouldn’t have retired if NFL had minor league system

Draymond Green: ‘Me and LeBron are friends’

Pierre-Paul won't need to wear club on hand this season

Report: Four cities remain in contention to host 2017 NBA ASG

Doc Rivers: Clippers have plan to let Paul Pierce retire as a Celtic

Another young 49er, Kaleb Ramsey, retires from NFL

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Hue Jackson: Browns will give Josh Gordon a fresh start

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

What would George Costanza have traded to get Bonds and Griffey?

Gabby Douglas can make USA Gymnastics history at Olympics

Week 3 will determine the Big Ten's reputation this season

Cam Talbot thinks the Oilers are close to making the playoffs

The new era of WWE SmackDown has liftoff

Vlade Divac: Cousins ‘most dominant player in the world’

Wild offer to make Prince's 'Let's Go Crazy' new goal song

Canucks don't dismiss acquiring player with past issues

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker