Detroit (61-72) at Tampa Bay (59-74)

Cloudy Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 82° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Fri Sep 3, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With Hurricane Frances bearing down on Florida, the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Devil Rays will try to open up their three-game series at Tropicana Field.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have been in contact with league officials about their possibilities of playing the series at some other point.

“The No. 1 thought in our minds is safety,” Devil Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn. “Safety for our fans, our players and our employees.”

The Tigers were already in St. Petersburg on Thursday, one day after completing a series at Kansas City.

The Florida Marlins already postponed their series opener against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night and were waiting to make a decision about games on Saturday and Sunday.

An extra day off might help Tampa Bay, which has dropped six straight games, including a three-game set against Baltimore, in which the Devil Rays were outscored 31-8—including 13-2 in the series finale on Thursday.

“Every day is important to me,” Aubrey Huff said. “I don’t care who you play. You don’t want to go out there and get embarrassed like we’ve been the past few days. It feels like you’re playing a high school game out there right now. It’s how bad it feels.”

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said Thursday’s rout should be a wake-up call.

“If it doesn’t wake you up a little bit, well then, you’re going to sleep for a while,” Piniella said. “All I want these guys to do is play hard. I can accept anything else. That’s all I ask. If they don’t play, then I’m not going to be pleased.”

The Devil Rays are 19-36 since being a season-high two games (40-38) over .500 on July 3.

“My mood is fine,” Piniella said. “You don’t need to worry about it. I’m 61-years old. I’ve been doing this for long time. I like to win. You do the best you can. We come here everyday ready to get a job done.”

The Tigers not only have to worry about the Hurricane, but their thought are with closer Ugueth Urbina, who’s mom was kidnapped in Venezuela on Thursday. Urbina left the team and the club is working with major league baseball and its Venezuelan contacts to assist the pitcher.

Detroit hasn’t fared much better than Tampa Bay on the field lately. The Tigers are in the midst of a 10-game road trip, and have lost six of the first seven games.

The Tigers dropped two of three in Kansas City, including a 1-0 loss on Wednesday. Mike Maroth pitched well, retiring the first eight batters. He struck out a career-high eight batters over eight innings.

“Any time you get a loss it’s hard to look at it as your best game,” said Maroth.

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11-13 Record 2-3
4.89 ERA 5.67
168 K 41
73 BB 21
1.31 WHIP 1.62