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Rays @ Angels: Another big series on this trip

Posted Jul 27, 2012 by Roger Mooney

Updated Jul 27, 2012 at 07:20 PM

ROGER MOONEY
ANAHEIM
The Rays begin another important series on this road trip tonight when they face the Angels at Angels Stadium, one of the more underrated ballparks in the major leagues.

The Angels and A’s are tied atop the AL Wild Card standings with the Rays 2 ½ games back. The Rays head to Oakland after this series.

With Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline just days away, the James Shields Trade Rumors are picking up as national baseball writers have linked six teams interested in trading for the Rays right-hander – the Angels, Dodgers, Braves, Indians, Rangers and Cardinals.

But the Rays are just a few games out of the Wild Card spot, much closer than they were at this time last season, and with 3B Evan Longoria on the comeback trail from a partially torn left hamstring that might have him back with the team on this road trip, executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman might be inclined to keep the team together for another run at October baseball.

The Rays took two of three from the Orioles during the first leg of this three-city trip.

Alex Cobb, 1-4 in his last five starts, faces Dan Haren tonight.

Desmond Jennings gets the night off. Sam Fuld will start in his place in left field.

Longoria tweeted earlier today that his hamstring felt fine after going 0-for-3 with a walk Thursday night for Triple A Durham.

The Rays also sold the rights of OF/1B Brandon Allen to the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Central League.

B.J. Upton is still one home run shy of 100 for his career.

Today is also the 11th anniversary of the Fred McGriff to the Cubs for SS Jason Smith and RHP Manny Aybar deal.

Here is the Rays lineup:

Fuld LF
Upton CF
Zobrist 2B
Joyce RF
Keppinger DH
Peña 1B
Roberts 3B
Lobaton 2B
Johnson SS

Cobb P

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