Toronto (1-1) at Tampa Bay (1-1)

Partly Cloudy Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Fri Apr 6, 2007
  • TV: WXPX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Winter-like weather caused the Toronto Blue Jays to postpone the final game of their season-opening series and forced the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to alter their lineup in theirs.

Neither team is likely to experience similar conditions on Friday night at Tropicana Field when the Blue Jays (1-1) play the Devil Rays (1-1) in their home opener.

Toronto’s three-game set with the Tigers was cut short because of snow and single-digit wind chills in Detroit on Thursday. The game is scheduled to be made up on Sept. 10.

“Obviously, you don’t want this to happen,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “But these conditions are just brutal.”

The Blue Jays and Tigers split the first two games of the series, with Toronto winning 5-3 in 10 innings on Monday and the Tigers taking Wednesday’s game 10-9.

“Yesterday there was a point - in the fifth or sixth inning - when it dropped probably eight degrees,” Toronto second baseman Aaron Hill said Thursday on the team’s official Web site. “I went out there and I was like, ‘Man, I can’t feel my thumb.’”

Toronto isn’t the only team happy to escape the cold. The Devil Rays’ season-opening series at Yankee Stadium also was marred by bad weather. After Wednesday afternoon’s contest was postponed by rain, the temperature for Thursday night’s 7-6 Tampa Bay win was 38 degrees with snow flurries for much of the game.

The weather problems caused manager Joe Maddon to alter his lineup, benching outfielder Rocco Baldelli and catcher Dioner Navarro, both of whom have tender hamstrings

“That was my call,” Maddon said. “Both wanted to play. Understand it’s the second game of the season. I just didn’t want to risk it.”

Maddon’s team seemed to adjust to the inclement weather. Rookie Elijah Dukes became the first Devil Rays player to homer in his first major league games when he snapped a 4-all tie in the sixth inning with a solo shot.

Carl Crawford added an RBI-single in the inning while Akinori Iwamura scored on a wild pitch by New York reliever Luis Vizcaino in the eighth.

James Shields takes the mound for the Devil Rays. Shields was 6-8 with a 4.84 ERA in 21 starts during his rookie season last year. The 25-year-old right-hander made one start against Toronto, allowing three runs and four hits in six innings of an 8-3 win.

Tampa Bay was 41-40 at home last season, but just 61-101 overall to finish in last place in the AL East for the eighth time in nine seasons.

Toronto will counter with Gustavo Chacin, who was 9-4 with a career-high 5.05 ERA last season in 17 starts. The 26-year-old left-hander was bothered by arm injuries for much of the season and appeared in just 17 games a year ago.

Chacin is 3-1 with a 4.42 ERA in six career starts against the Devil Rays. He was just 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two starts last year.

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Starting Pitchers

G. Chacín Hou vs. J. Shields KC
2-1 Record 12-8
5.60 ERA 3.85
11 K 184
7 BB 36
1.32 WHIP 1.11

Scoreboard

Friday, Apr 6