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Rays on deck

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 23, 2001


THE GAME

WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg.

TV/RADIO: Ch. 32; WFLA-AM 970, WLCC-AM 760 (Spanish).

TICKETS: At stadium box office; through Ticketmaster phone and retail outlets; at team stores in WestShore Plaza, Brandon Town Center and BayWalk.

PROMOTION: Today is poster day with the first 25,000 fans receiving a team poster.

The pitchers

Joe Kennedy

Kennedy is making his fourth start since being called up from Durham on June 1. He is 2-1 with a 5.17 ERA and suffered his first loss last weekend against Florida when he did not get out of the fifth inning. It was his shortest outing.

Roger Clemens

Clemens is 9-1 with a 3.69 ERA. He needs one win to tie Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes for 28th on the all-time win list. Clemens is 2-1 lifetime against Tampa Bay with a 4.24 ERA. Opponents are batting .244 against him.

You don't say

Every start Joe Kennedy has made in his short major-league career has been "big." There was his first start in Toronto, his first home start right after that and then his first loss last weekend against Florida. Today's start, however, could be one of the biggest -- crowd-wise -- he'll see all season.

Lining up against the rookie is five-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens. The crowd is expected to be large and pro-Yankee, as are most crowds when the defending World Series champions are in town. Kennedy realizes that most people will be rooting for Clemens but he has other plans.

"Hopefully we can change some minds tomorrow," Kennedy said.

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