Rays facing Astros for first time as AL foes

Rays facing Astros for first time as AL foes

HOUSTON -- This is the first time the Rays will be facing Houston as an American League team and that presents some problems with preparation.

"It's unusual, you've got a lot of different names, a bunch of guys you're not used to seeing or playing against," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I watched them a little bit on TV. They've been playing on the West Coast. I saw them against the Angels, so I have an idea what some guys look like."

Maddon said that despite their record, he is impressed with the development of the AL's newest member.

"They have some really interesting young talent," he said. "They have some really athletic people out there and over the last 40 games they're playing about .500 baseball. So people can say what they want, this group has already shown signs of getting better."

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.