06/01/2003 12:50 PM ET
Devil Rays come calling
Devil Rays (21-34) at Cubs (30-25), 7:05 p.m. CT
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Devil Rays preview
It'll be the Chicago Cubs against the American League East for the next two weeks as interleague play resumes. First up, the Cubs' inaugural series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, beginning Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
Fourteen players have played for both the Cubs and Devil Rays, and Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild was Tampa Bay's first manager. But the more interesting story will be the return of right-hander Jeremi Gonzalez, was on the Cubs roster 1997-98, but whose career never developed because of arm problems. He was 11-9 in 1997 and 7-7 in '98 with the Cubs.
Chicago is 2-4 on this homestand after losing 9-3 to Houston on Sunday.
"Right now the way I look at it is we need to win games," Rothschild said, ignoring any nostalgic feelings regarding the Devil Rays. "Them coming in, it's another series for us to play well and win."
The Devil Rays also feature rookie sensation Rocco Baldelli, the American League Rookie of the Month for April, and Jared Sandberg, nephew of former Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg.
Matt Clement, Mark Prior and Shawn Estes will start for the Cubs against Tampa Bay. Clement is anxious just to turn the page on the calendar after going 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA in May.
TAM: RHP Jeremi Gonzalez
2-1, 3.50 ERA in 2003
Has never faced Cubs
CHI: RHP Matt Clement
2-6, 4.99 ERA in 2003
Has never faced Devil Rays
Players to watch: Sammy Sosa is now 2-for-15 with eight strikeouts since returning from the disabled list on Friday. He leads the Major Leagues with 88 RBIs in interleague games.
Quotable: "(Interleague play) requires a lot of studying. This is when your advance scouts earn their money. You're at the mercy of calling somebody in the other league that you know who can tell you how to pitch this guy or how to play this guy defensively. Sometimes you end up pitching a guy wrong in the series and you find out hey, he's a high ball hitter instead of a low ball hitter or vice versa. You have to spend a lot more time on homework, not only us but the players. It's here. Nobody asked me about getting rid of it, so we have to go play it." - Cubs manager Dusty Baker on interleague play.
On the Internet:
Cubs: Fox Sports Net Chicago
Devil Rays: PAX-TV
Cubs: WGN 720
Devil Rays: WFLA 970
Quick hits: Corey Patterson has hit safely in 19 of his last 22 games. ... Only Moises Alou, Mark Grudzielanek, Lenny Harris and Eric Karros have faced Tampa Bay starter Jeremi Gonzalez, and Grudzielanek has had the best success, going 3-for-7 with two doubles. ... The Cubs went 12-12 in a four-week stretch against Central Division foes, which ended Sunday. Last year, they were 36-54 in divisional play.
Weather forecast: It should be a lovely night for baseball. Daytime temperatures are expected to be in the low 70s.
Devil Rays at Cubs, Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. CT
Devil Rays at Cubs, Thursday, 1:20 p.m. CT
Yankees at Cubs, Friday, 2:20 p.m. CT
Yankees at Cubs, Saturday, 12:15 p.m. CT
Yankees at Cubs, Sunday, 7:05 p.m. CT
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.