Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kaz pitching tonight for Rays

The Rays will try to close out the American League Championship Series tonight with their least effective pitcher.

Manager Joe Maddon tweaked his rotation, skipping James Shields for Game 5 in favor of Scott Kazmir.

Kazmir, who has struggled in two postseason starts, has the better career numbers against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

“We felt it was the right thing to do right now,” Maddon said. “We like that. We like the fact that he’s pitching with an open day following, the ability to utilize the entire bullpen. We also like the idea of him pitching here, and we like the idea of Shields being able to pitch at home, if necessary.”

Shields will start Game 6 on Saturday night at Tropicana Field should the Red Sox win Thursday.

If the series were tied 2-2, then Shields would have started tonight. But with the Rays leading 3-1, Maddon decided to have Kazmir start on his normal fifth day.

-- Roger Mooney

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