Venue: Citizens Bank Park
The Tampa Bay Rays have struggled against left-handers all season.
Now they have to face two who have haunted them in the past in one day.
The Philadelphia Phillies will send Cole Hamels and then Cliff Lee to the mound Sunday at Citizens Bank Park in a day-night doubleheader against the Rays.
Tampa Bay (38-32) has lost three straight overall and brings a 9-14 mark against left-handed starters into Sunday as it faces a pair of postseason nemeses from recent years in Hamels (10-3, 3.25 ERA) and Lee (0-3, 3.48).
Hamels was named the 2008 World Series MVP for going 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against the Rays, victories for the Phillies (34-38) in Game 1 and the clinching Game 5. He hasn't faced Tampa Bay since.
He ranks among the majors' top 10 with 99 strikeouts after fanning seven and allowing two runs over eight innings to earn Tuesday's 7-2 home win over Colorado.
Lee went 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 21 strikeouts over 16 innings in a 2010 division series to help Texas defeat Tampa Bay in five games. He hasn't faced the Rays since, going 6-5 with a 2.87 ERA in 13 regular-season matchups before that.
Lee was originally scheduled to pitch Friday's contest, which was rained out to create this doubleheader. He warmed up with about 30-40 pitches Friday, and wasn't happy that the game was postponed after a delay of nearly three hours.
"I could've had my son look at the radar and he could've told me it was gonna rain," Lee told the Phillies' official website. "Somebody got that wrong. I don't know who it was, but it was pretty obvious it was gonna rain. Somebody up there was really adamant about us playing."
Philadelphia has lost eight of his 11 starts, but Lee has the third-lowest run-support average (2.90) in the majors.
David Price (9-4, 3.08) will start the opener for Tampa Bay against Hamels. He made two relief appearances in the 2008 World Series, then allowed a career-high 10 runs - five earned - in losing his lone career start against the Phillies in 2009.
The left-hander yielded four runs over seven innings to get credit for Tuesday's 5-4 victory at Washington, improving to 3-0 in his last four road starts. He has posted a 3.60 ERA in losing both 2012 matinee outings.
The Rays have not decided who will start the nightcap. Right-hander Alex Cobb (3-3, 3.82) is a possibility, although he may start Monday in Kansas City instead.
With Price going in the opener, the Phillies likely won't have lefty-swinging Jim Thome in the starting lineup. Thome, however, was the hero of Saturday's 7-6 victory with a pinch-hit home run off left-hander Jake McGee in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
Thome recorded home run No. 609, tying Sammy Sosa for seventh place on the career list. He's baseball's all-time leader with 64 interleague homers, including five this year.
"Tip your hat to Thome. He hit a 96 mph fastball off a left-hander and they beat us," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Juan Pierre and Jimmy Rollins also homered for the Phillies, helping manager Charlie Manuel earn his 900th career win.
"To do that for him, it was special for sure," Thome said.
The Rays' Jeff Keppinger was 5 for 5 with three RBIs in his first game after he missed 29 because of a broken toe. He contributed to a two-run ninth-inning rally that gave Jonathan Papelbon his first blown save with Philadelphia.
The former Boston closer had converted his previous 12 save opportunities against the Rays, posting a 0.47 ERA in 18 appearances versus Tampa Bay from 2009-11.
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