The right-hander looks to continue revitalizing his career when the Devil Rays complete a three-game interleague series with the Florida Marlins at Pro Player Stadium.
Gonzalez, a highly touted Cubs prospect in the late 1990s, went 18-16 for Chicago from 1997-98. However, a series of arm injuries derailed his career until the Devil Rays called him up from Triple-A Durham in the middle of May.
Gonzalez has responded, going 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA—the lowest among Tampa Bay starters—in seven outings. On Tuesday, he allowed one run and one hit over six innings, pitching around five walks, in an 11-2 victory over the New York Yankees.
“He just doesn’t give in, he has an insatiable desire to succeed,” pitching coach Chris Bosio said of Gonzalez. “He has added so much to this team. He’s been great to work with.”
Gonzalez has yielded two runs or fewer in five of his seven appearances, allowing just one in three of those starts.
“Gonzalez competes well and brings a little energy to this team,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “He hasn’t really had a bad game for us.”
Gonzalez will try to help the Devil Rays avoid a sweep against their Florida rivals.
After a 3-1, 11-inning victory in Friday’s series opener, the Marlins posted a 2-0, five-inning triumph Saturday.
Marlins rookie Dontrelle Willis yielded just two hits in the rain-shortened game as Florida won its third in a row.
The struggling Devil Rays have dropped 13 of 15.
STANDINGS: Devil Rays - 5th place, 19 GB, AL East. Marlins - 4th place, 13 GB, NL East.
DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Gonzalez (3-2, 3.00 ERA). Gonzalez, who is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA in five road starts this year, is 1-1 with a 7.85 ERA in four career appearances against Florida.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Carl Pavano (5-8, 4.35 ERA). Pavano has lost three of his last four starts, but did pitch well in Tuesday’s 5-0 setback to the New York Mets. The right-hander allowed two earned runs and seven hits over a season high-tying eight innings, striking out three and walking none. Pavano has gone at least six innings in all but one of his last nine starts.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Devil Rays - Rocco Baldelli, .321 avg.; Aubrey Huff, 15 HRs, 42 RBIs and 42 runs; Carl Crawford, 17 SBs. Marlins - Alex Gonzalez, .325 avg.; Mike Lowell, 22 HRs, 60 RBIs and 48 runs; Juan Pierre, 31 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Devil Rays - 2-12. Marlins - 7-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Devil Rays - Tampa Bay has held the Marlins to a .200 batting average over the last eight games between the teams, but only managed a 4-4 record in that span. … INF Marlon Anderson is 3-for-14 (.214) in his career against RHP Pavano. … OF Al Martin is 5-for-9 with three RBIs against Pavano. Marlins - 3B Lowell is 1-for-17 over his last six games, dropping his average from .305 to .291. … LF Miguel Cabrera, who gave Florida the win Friday with a walkoff two-run homer in his major league debut, went 0-for-2 Saturday. … RHP Josh Beckett allowed two hits and no runs in three innings in a rehab start at Class A Jupiter. Beckett, out since May 9 with an elbow strain, struck out five and threw 42 pitches.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devil Rays - 11-27 on the road; Marlins - 22-18 at home.
INJURIES: Devil Rays - SS Rey Ordonez (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Joe Kennedy (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 60-day DL. Marlins - RHP Beckett (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendicitis), 15-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Abraham Nunez (hamstring), 60-day DL.
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