Two of the hottest teams in Major League Baseball will meet for a three-game series beginning on Friday in Los Angeles, and something has to give.
Since May 8, the Rays are 52-29, with the Dodgers at 51-31, as both clubs have surged from last place in their respective divisions.
Tampa Bay will turn to ace David Price in the series opener. Price has lost just one game since his July 2 return from the disabled list with a strained left triceps. His ERA after the DL stint (1.57) is nearly four runs below where it was before the injury (5.24).
Price has not been shy about attacking hitters since his return, having faced 202 batters and issued one walk.
"I'm going to make people prove to me that they can hit my best stuff," Price said. "If they do that, then I'll look to change. But until then I'm extremely competitive. I want to go out there and go nine every time and not allow a baserunner, a base hit or a walk, or anything. That's the way I've always been, and I don't plan on changing."
The Dodgers will hand the ball to left-hander Chris Capuano, who shut out the Cubs over 6 1/3 innings in his most recent outing and has not lost a game since July 4.
"There's definitely a sense of trying to follow the other acts out there," he said, referring to rotation-mates Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and newcomer Ricky Nolasco. "I'm just trying to follow and do my job."
Capuano has only faced the Rays once in his career, giving up four earned runs on 12 hits in seven innings to take the loss on June 13, 2005, while with the Brewers.
Rays: First visit to Chavez Ravine
This trip to Dodger Stadium will be Tampa Bay's first as a franchise. The Rays are the only Major League club to have never visited Dodger Stadium. Only one other such relationship exists in Major League Baseball, with the Padres having never visited Toronto's Rogers Centre.
Although the Rays visit Anaheim annually to face the Angels, this three-game series will be a homecoming of sorts for a number of players.
Third baseman Evan Longoria and reliever Cesar Ramos played together at Long Beach State University. Both are from Southern California, with Ramos having attended El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera and Longoria a graduate of St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower.
First baseman James Loney spent nearly seven seasons with the Dodgers, and reliever Jamey Wright appeared in 66 games last season for them. In addition, Dodgers leadoff man Carl Crawford spent the first nine years of his career with the Rays, and reliever J.P. Howell spent six of his eight big league seasons in Tampa Bay.
Dodgers: Teen befriended by Kemp dies of cancer
Joshua Jones, the terminally ill Dodgers fan befriended by Matt Kemp earlier this season, has passed away. He was 19.
Laelah Quintor, Jones' aunt, told Yahoo! that Jones' health had worsened over the past few weeks, but she said that the moments he spent with Kemp "definitely made a difference." Jones had been battling brain cancer.
Kemp presented Jones with an autographed baseball along with his jersey, hat and spikes on May 5 after a game in San Francisco. The interaction was recorded and put online, although Kemp said at the time he didn't know he was being filmed.
• The Rays' Wil Myers has reached base safely in 21 consecutive games. Rocco Baldelli owns the club's rookie record, with 24 consecutive games.
• Capuano has allowed one earned run or none in seven of his 14 starts this season.
Sam Strong is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.