Dodgers vs. Rays: A matchup worth the wait

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

From the play on the field over the last seven weeks by both teams, to the return of James Loney to Dodger Stadium, to the Rays' first trip to Los Angeles, to stingy pitching by both starting pitchers Friday night, there are plenty of story lines between the Dodgers and Rays this weekend.

The Dodgers, 34-8 since June 22 own the best record in the National League during that span. This weekend they welcome to Dodger Stadium the Rays, 28-11 during that same span, the best record in the American League. Here are some notes before the series opener on Friday night at Chavez Ravine.

One more to go

In the 17th season of interleague play, this is the first matchup between the Rays and Dodgers in Los Angeles. The Dodgers had a similar scheduling quirk corrected earlier this season with their first-ever regular season trip to New York to face the Yankees.

After this weekend, the only interleague matchup to not yet happen will be Padres at Blue Jays, per STATS LLC.

Welcome back

James Loney this year with the Rays is enjoying his finest season since 2007, hitting .307/.355/.449 with 10 home runs and 23 doubles in 109 games.

After hitting just .218/.256/.299 against left-handed pitchers with four home runs in 425 plate appearances from 2010-2012, Loney has hit .318/.357/.439 with three home runs in 116 PA against southpaws for the Rays this season.

The former Dodger is a career .279/.335/.379 hitter at Dodger Stadium, with 25 home runs in 454 games.

Going streaking

Chris Capuano takes a streak of 12 consecutive scoreless frames into Friday night's start, including each of his last two starts without allowing a run. Capuano has never had more than two starts in a row without allowing a run.

In his last eight starts, Capauno has allowed zero runs five times, more than he had done in any one season in his career. His previous high was in 2006, when he had four starts with no runs allowed for the Brewers.

Last 'perfect game' before Jansen

The Dodgers say the last pitcher in franchise history before Kenley Jansen to retire 27 straight batters was Greg Maddux, who retired 32 straight from Aug. 13-19, 2006. Maddux retired the final 22 batters he faced against the Giants at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 13, a game that saw Maddux throw just 67 pitches in eight scoreless innings in a duel with Jason Schmidt, a game eventually won 1-0 on a walk-off home run by rookie Russell Martin. Maddux followed that up by retiring the first 10 batters he faced, against the Giants but this time in San Francisco. Omar Vizquel broke up the string with a single.

Price has been right

Since returning from the disabled list on July 2, David Price has been doing David Price things. He sports a 1.57 ERA during that span and has lasted at least seven innings in all seven starts, including four starts of nine innings during that span.

Price, whom the Dodgers drafted out of high school in the 19th round in 2004 but did not sign, set a Rays record of 27 consecutive innings without a walk from July 2-19. He walked one batter, and has since gone 29⅔ innings without another walk to set a new record. To go with that one walk during that span, Price has 40 strikeouts.

Roster move

The Rays before the game recalled relief pitcher Josh Lueke from Triple-A Durham and designated Kyle Farnsworth for assignment in a swap of right-handers in the bullpen. Lueke in a previous stint with Tampa Bay this season was 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA in 12 innings, with eight hits and nine walks allowed, and 15 strikeouts.

Game info

Time: 7:10 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday

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