Contemplating what might have been is typically a waste of time, but sometimes it's impossible not to wonder how different baseball life would be if the Tampa Bay Rays had handled their 2008 Draft a little differently.
For instance, their current lineup could be enhanced by the presence of catcher Buster Posey, who'll visit Tropicana Field along with his San Francisco Giants teammates for an Interleague series this weekend.
The Rays had the first overall selection in '08 and reportedly were considering selecting Posey, a star at Florida State University. They instead took shortstop Tim Beckham from Griffin (Ga.) High School. Posey, drafted fifth by the Giants, proceeded to win the National League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards, in addition to making three All-Star teams.
Friday's Pride Night game will also be a sellout at Tropicana Field. The Rays and Giants will also observe a moment of silence while the names of the Orlando shooting victims will be scrolled on the video board. The Rays will be donating all proceeds from their $5 ticket sales to the Orlando Pulse fund benefiting victims of the shooting early Sunday morning.
After Tampa Bay's win on Sunday, manager Kevin Cash acknowledged the support the team gets from the Orlando area. On Friday, everyone in attendance will receive a "We Are Orlando" T-shirt.
Things to know about this game
• The opener will feature an attractive pitching matchup, with San Francisco starting Jeff Samardzija opposite Chris Archer. Samardzija has lost two of his last three starts after winning three straight, while Archer has struggled to find his typical consistency this season.
• The Giants have previously visited Tropicana Field just twice. They lost two of three games there in 2004 and '13.
• Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is among the game's hottest hitters. He is batting .379 (22-for-58) in his previous 15 games with eight homers and 20 RBIs.
• The Giants have yet to settle on a starting pitcher for Sunday's series finale to replace Matt Cain, who's on the disabled list with an injured right hamstring. Candidates include rookie right-handers Chris Stratton and Albert Suarez.