tampabay.com

Waiting for makeup suits both

The decision to postpone Saturday's game, given the afternoon showers and forecast for more, seemed obvious. Deciding when to make it up was a little more intriguing.

By MARC TOPKIN
Published May 27, 2007


CHICAGO - The decision to postpone Saturday's game, given the afternoon showers and forecast for more, seemed obvious. Deciding when to make it up was a little more intriguing.

The options were to play a doubleheader today or a makeup Aug. 27, when the teams have a common day off.

Given that choice, and what a doubleheader could do to his already thin bullpen, Rays manager Joe Maddon said he preferred to come back to Chicago for a day on the front end of a road trip to Baltimore and New York.

"We were amenable to either way," Maddon said. "I don't think the schedule was so bad in the sense that we have to go from Tampa to here to Baltimore. I didn't think that was horrid.

"Right now, I would prefer to play one game, quite frankly, on a daily basis as opposed to two. I think that gives us a better opportunity, I think, without trying to be too smart."

The August makeup works for the Sox, too, and not just because they have a 1:10 p.m. game Monday in Minnesota and would have been challenged if they'd played two games today.

Saturday's game was sold out, and the Sox are allowing the tickets to be used only for the makeup game, guaranteeing their revenue no matter how few people show up for the 1:05 game on a Monday.

With the Aug. 27 makeup, the Rays will play 20 straight days, from Aug. 17 through Sept. 5.

PITCHING IN: The Rays will keep ace Scott Kazmir on schedule and start him today against Chicago's Javier Vazquez, but Maddon said the rest of the rotation may be readjusted.

The Rays were scheduled to start Casey Fossum, Jae Seo and James Shields in the three-game series against Detroit that starts Monday, but Edwin Jackson, who was scheduled to start Saturday for the first time in eight days, is likely to get one of those games.

Conveniently, he could start ahead of Seo, who was in danger of being dropped from the rotation, possibly for prospect Andy Sonnanstine.

"We don't want Jackson to go too far without pitching," Maddon said.

FAMILIAR FACE: C Toby Hall is excited to be starting for the Sox today, but it's more the chance to play for just the second time since coming off the disabled list (right shoulder) May 17 then facing what's left of his former Rays teammates.

"It's good to see some of the players and the staff, but since I was out for two months, it's more a matter of me just being out there," Hall said.

SPECIAL K: Kazmir has been inconsistent thus far, winning just twice in 10 starts, but Maddon remains confident the 2006 All-Star is going to get hot.

"I know he's going to get on a roll," Maddon said. "He's going to find his rhythm and find his tempo, and he's going to pitch extremely well because the velocity is there, the break is there, the changeup is there. He's had a little bit of a problem with fastball command. That's something that's bothered him in the past, and I thought last year he got beyond that a little bit."

MISCELLANY: C Shawn Riggans will make his first start today. ... RF Delmon Young's seven assists top rookie outfielders. ... Josh Wilson was scheduled to start at shortstop Saturday, but Maddon said he may go back to Brendan Harris because the rainout provided his needed day off. ... CF Elijah Dukes was in the lineup.