Startling stats by starters (updated twice)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman and Zach Britton - not exactly the top three you envisioned when putting together your rotation over the winter - held the Rays to one run and six hits in 20 innings in this series.

Jake Arrieta has three tough acts to follow in tomorrow’s home opener, which I’m told will be played with temperatures in the 70s. I really hope it holds true.

Guthrie tossed eight scoreless innings in Friday night’s season-opener, allowing only three hits. Tillman followed with six hitless innings, and Britton’s major league debut ended after he permitted one run and three hits in six innings.

It’s fun to second-guess, so I’ll do it here. I would have let Jason Berken come out for the eighth inning after he struck out the side on 15 pitches in the seventh.

Jim Johnson is pitching the eighth, and he gave up a one-out double to B.J. Upton.

Manager Buck Showalter keeps pushing all the right buttons, so I fully expect this move to work in his favor. I’m just surprised Berken wasn’t extended to two innings.

Berken made his first appearance since Aug. 12.

Instant update: Johnson didn’t allow a run. Never doubted it for a second.

Kevin Gregg is warming up. I think it’s safe to call him the closer.

Update II: Mark Reynold’s second RBI double, which followed an infield hit and stolen base by Adam Jones, has extended the lead to 5-1. Gregg sat down. Josh Rupe was throwing earlier, so maybe he comes into the game.

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