When we last saw these two teams in Tropicana Field, it was Game 2 of the 2008 World Series. Tonight, there is considerably less at stake, but that does not mean it is not an important game to either team.
The Phillies start their road trip with a three-game set against their World Series opponents and are looking to find a way to turn their season around. Despite leading the NL East, recent home woes have left fans feelings a new low about this team in 2009.
Jamie Moyer will get the start as the pitching staff searches for its own turnaround.
Moyer enters the game at 4-6 with a 6.35 ERA, but has shown improvement since the start of the season. He had what the team hopes was a hiccup in his last start, when he allowed six runs on 10 hits in six innings of work (Moyer was taken out in the seventh inning).
He threw a good game against Tampa Bay in Game 3 of the World Series, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing just three runs on five hits on the rain-delayed evening.
The Phillies went on to win the game in the ninth, rendering Moyer's performance a no-decision.
For the defending AL Champion Rays, the team finds itself six games out of first place, despite a 37-34 record. Not only are the Rays looking up at the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox, but the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays have a head start on the as well.
Tampa will send David Price to the mound for tonight's series opener. In his last outing, he pitched a career-high seven innings against the Colorado Rockies.
Price faced the Phillies in two relief appearances in the World Series, allowing two runs (one earned) in 3 1/3 innings pitched.
For Phillies fans, the most interest in this game will center on Rays designated hitter Pat Burrell. The longtime Phillie has played in just 39 games this season, batting .240 with just one home run and 18 RBI to go along with 22 walks.
Believe it or not, he has two stolen bases.
The Rays, even more so than the Phillies, are riddled with injuries. Among those on the injured list include second baseman Akinori Iwamura, and pitchers Troy Percival, Scott Kazmir, and Jason Isringhausen.
Phillies record: 36-31
Rays record: 37-34
NL East Standings (Team, record, games behind)
Pitching probables: Moyer (4-6, 6.35 ERA) vs. Price (1-1, 3.46 ERA)
TV: Comcast Sportsnet
First pitch: 7:05 p.m. EST
Season series: First meeting
Game open thread will be posted at 6:30 p.m. Game recap will be up tomorrow morning.