Tampa Bay (41-67) at Kansas City (58-50)

Fair Currently: Kansas City, MO
Temp: 13° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Sun Aug 3, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Left-hander Jimmy Gobble will make his major league debut as the AL Central-leading Kansas City Royals conclude a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Kauffman Stadium.

Gobble was recalled from Double-A Wichita on Saturday after starter Jose Lima was placed on the disabled list with a nagging groin injury.

Gobble, who was 12-8 with a 3.19 ERA in 22 games at Wichita, was one of two prospects, along with right-hander Zack Grienke, considered off limits by Kansas City prior to Thursday’s trade deadline.

The Royals expected Gobble to be called up later this season, but Lima’s injury forced the southpaw into action.

”(Gobble) is a kid that we believe can help us out,” Royals manager Tony Pena said. “In spring training, we saw a lot of good things from him. Why not? Just bring him up and pitch him. He has shown the kind of command that it takes.”

The 22-year-old Gobble is understandably excited about the opportunity.

“It’s time to rock and roll,” he said. “It’s time to compete for a win.

“It’s a great opportunity to come into this situation and be around a team that is winning. Whether I’m here a short time or for the rest of the year, it’s a great learning experience.”

Gobble throws a fastball, changeup and a curveball—his out pitch.

“I’ve got to throw it for strikes and get ahead of hitters,” he said. “I’m more of a finesse pitcher who tries to hit spots.”

Even with Gobble, the Royals still have a hole to fill after sending starter Jeremy Affeldt to the bullpen to strengthen their relief corps.

“We just go one day at a time,” Pena said. “I know people are probably sick of hearing me say that. But in reality, that’s the way it is. I’ve played scramble all year and I’ll continue to do it.”

On Saturday, the Royals beat the Devil Rays 10-8, snapping a season-high-matching four-game losing streak. Carlos Beltran homered and Brent Mayne went 3-for-3 for Kansas City, which is one game in front of the second-place White Sox in the Central.

Travis Lee and Julio Lugo both doubled for Tampa Bay, which had a four-game winning streak snapped.

STANDINGS (through Aug. 1): Devil Rays - 5th place, 25 GB, AL East. Royals - 1st place (tied), AL Central.

DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Jeremi Gonzalez (4-4, 3.90 ERA). On Tuesday, Gonzalez gave up four earned runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings, but did not receive a decision in Tampa Bay’s 9-8 win over Toronto. Gonzalez made his only career previous start against the Royals on June 28, 1998, giving up three earned runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 6-3 win for the Chicago Cubs.

ROYALS PROBABLE STARTER: Gobble (no record). Gobble was selected 43rd overall in the 1999 free agent draft.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Devil Rays - Rocco Baldelli, .306 avg. and 62 runs; Aubrey Huff, 19 HRs and 59 RBIs; Carl Crawford, 31 SBs. Royals - Carlos Beltran, .304 avg., 16 HRs, 64 runs and 30 SBs; Raul Ibanez, 67 RBIs.

SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Devil Rays - 1B Lee is hitting .459 (17-for-37) with three home runs and 12 RBIs in his last 10 games. … SS Julio Lugo is 19-for-51 (.373) in his past 14 games, raising his average from .235 to a season-high .265. … The Devil Rays, who had 11 hits Saturday, are 27-21 when they collect at least 10 hits. Royals - Kansas City has given up 49 runs through the first five games of its six-game homestand. … Jeff Montgomery, Kansas City’s closer from 1989-99, was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame before Saturday’s game. … INF Desi Relaford is 3-for-8 (.375) with a double all-time against RHP Gonzalez.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devil Rays - 19-36 on the road; Royals - 30-27 at home.

INJURIES: Devil Rays - SS Rey Ordonez (knee), 15-day DL; INF Terry Shumpert (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Ben Grieve (blood clot), 15-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 60-day DL. Royals - INF Mendy Lopez (calf), 15-day DL; 1B Mike Sweeney (back), 15-day DL; RHP Miguel Asencio (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

G. Gonzalez Tor vs. J. Gobble Col
6-11 Record 4-5
3.91 ERA 4.61
97 K 31
69 BB 15
1.28 WHIP 1.35