Say adios to interleague play until next year when we get to enjoy it/cuss it (your pick) throughout the regular season slate.
Of course, there will be two more meetings between American League and National League clubs before Opening Day 2013, next month's All-Star Game in Kansas City and the eventual league champions squaring off in the World Series. After that, seeing AL and NL squads collide on a diamond will definitely lose what novelty it has left.
Speaking of the World Series, the '08 Fall Classic might best be remembered for the decisive fifth game being stretched over three days thanks to Mother Nature. The contest was originally suspended in the sixth inning on Monday night, rain kept it from being picked back up Tuesday, and the Philadelphia Phillies eventually finished off a 4-3 win on Wednesday to grab the championship against a Tampa Bay Rays team that was in the postseason for the very first time.
Rain once again thwarted the Phillies and Rays on Friday to force the postponement of the series opener and push the clubs into a day-night doubleheader on Sunday. Tampa Bay was a slight $1.10 favorite in Saturday's contest (4:05 p.m. ET) with James Shields on the mound. Philadelphia was slated to send Kyle Kendrick out to oppose Shields, and the 9-run total slightly favored the 'over.'
Sunday's twinbill begins at 1:05 p.m. (ET) with the second game tentatively scheduled for 6:35 p.m., and while both teams had their starting pitchers decided, neither team had firmed up who would start which game. One scenario has Alex Cobb and Cliff Lee meeting in the early affair with David Price and Cole Hamels clashing in the evening tilt. Bettors will need to keep an eye on the Don Best odds screen for the eventual matchups and lines, and for now we'll focus on the Price-Hamels matchup since that was the original pairing for Sunday.
Hamels was Philly's starter in that rain-marred Game 5 from four years ago and ultimately won World Series MVP honors. The southpaw is having another solid season and making plenty of friends at the window with the Phillies 11-3 in his 14 start, good enough for 6.2 units. He has been knocked around a bit this month with a 5.40 ERA, but has still managed to win twice.
Price was the final pitcher for the Rays in Game 5 back in '08 as a rookie working from the 'pen. The former Vanderbilt star had one hiccup at the Mets a couple of starts back, but has otherwise enjoyed June with a 3-1 record in four outings. Tampa Bay is 9-5 overall behind their lefty this season, good enough for $3.60 on the return.
Though the Phillies dominated the Rays in the 2008 World Series, Tampa Bay has had the upper hand when the clubs meet in the regular season. The Rays are 12-6 entering Saturday's contest, 6-3 in the nine games played in the City of Brotherly Love.
Tigers, Rangers Meet In 2011 ALCS Rematch
The AL and NL return to playing within the confines of their league rosters on Monday, and among the series cranking up is a rematch from last fall's ALCS between the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers. First pitch in the Lone Star State will be at 8:05 p.m. (ET) and delivered by Rangers rookie Justin Grimm. The Tigers counter with Rick Porcello.
Texas prevailed in six games to win its second straight AL pennant last October, and followed up by taking three of four from the Tigers when the clubs met in Motown two months ago (April 19-22). The totals split 2-2 in the earlier meeting, and Texas' only loss came as a +160 underdog when Neftali Feliz was matched up against reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander.
Porcello will be looking to put his last start vs. Texas behind him when the climbs the mound on Monday. The Rangers walloped the Tigers' young righty at Comerica Park on April 21, chasing him three batters into the second inning and scoring nine of their runs off Porcello in the eventual 10-4 decision. His last starting assignment in Texas was a winner, hurling six innings and allowing just one run during an 8-1 Detroit victory in June 2011.
Grimm is filling the rotation slot left vacant by Derek Holland's injury and will be making just the second big league start of his career. The 23-year-old out of the University of Georgia grabbed the dubya against the Houston Astros a week ago (June 16) with six innings of work that included seven strikeouts and no walks. He was enjoying a fine season at Double-A Frisco with an 8-3 record and 1.87 ERA before being called up to the big league club.
This series continues Tuesday when the expected pitching duel will pit Detroit's Jacob Turner and Texas' Yu Darvish. Doug Fister and Roy Oswalt are the tentative starters in Wednesday's series finale. The teams will meet once more this season in Texas on Aug. 10-12.