07/25/07 6:39 PM ET
Notes: Jackson now a different pitcher
Rays righty coming off two straight strong starts vs. Yanks
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
The Devil Rays' right-hander has been a different pitcher in his last two starts, each of them against the Yankees. In those two outings, he held the Yankees to a .222 average, allowing four runs on 10 hits, six walks and he struck out 10 in 12 innings. Friday night's start was especially impressive considering what happened the rest of the weekend at Yankee Stadium. Jackson allowed no runs in six innings and after his exit, Rays pitchers allowed 49 runs in 27 innings.
"Based on what happened after [Jackson's outing] really accentuates how well [Jackson] did that first night pitching there," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
All along, Maddon has believed in Jackson, so he seemed excited about his recent success.
"I think he's starting to show signs of consistency," Maddon said. "The biggest thing to me has been his demeanor. I really do think that's primary, to go out there with the right kind of mound presence, because his stuff is that good. If he goes out there and is under control with his emotions, he's going to pitch well again tomorrow. But I am curious to see how he looks. If we can start getting him into the seventh, if he could touch the eighth or ninth inning, that would really be exciting."
To Jackson's credit, he hasn't changed any since having some success.
"Keep the same game plan regardless, whether it's your best game or your worst game," Jackson said. "Go into every game with a fresh start. With the same mentality, be aggressive."
Jackson said the success hasn't improved his level of confidence.
"It's comfort ... I'm more comfortable now," Jackson said. "I've found a comfort level to kind of pitch at; [my] confidence has always been there."
Jackson said he could not dwell on having success against the Yankees.
"What happened in the past happened in the past," Jackson said. "You have to look ahead at what's coming up in the future."
Trade deadline approaching: The July 31 trade deadline is fast approaching and the Rays are busy exploring different opportunities.
"It will be interesting to see how many things are happening," said Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations. "There may be a domino effect here where once some things start to happen, more and more will. Right now, it's pretty slow. We're having a lot of conversations. We feel like we have some depth in certain areas and weaknesses in others. To the extent we can address those weaknesses, especially from our depth, we're going to be aggressive to do that. Whether we're able to now, or the offseason, remains to be seen."
The composition of the Rays' roster has put them in a different situation than in the recent past.
"It's a very different situation in that most everybody on our roster [is someone] we control for more than this year and in a lot of cases, three to five years," Friedman said. "We're purely looking at this as trying to address our weaknesses with some of our surplus."
Fossum a father: Casey Fossum's wife, Kim, delivered the couple's third child, a boy, on Tuesday. Maddon talked to the Rays' left-hander on Wednesday.
"Everything is fine," Maddon said. "The baby's fine, Kim's fine. He's going to join us Friday. She's coming home from the hospital at some point [on Wednesday], so rushing him up here for a day game didn't seem to be the right thing to do."
Paul close: Josh Paul (left elbow strain) went 2-for-3 on Tuesday night with a pair of walks and an RBI in his first rehab game with Double-A Montgomery. Maddon said the veteran catcher would catch on Wednesday and Thursday for the Biscuits and, if all goes well, he will rejoin the Rays on Friday.
Up next: The Rays will wrap up their three-game series against the Orioles on Thursday afternoon in a 12:35 ET contest. Right-hander Jackson (2-9, 6.65) will start for the Rays and will be opposed by right-hander Steve Trachsel (5-7, 5.05).
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.