The Short, Unpleasant History of Phillies vs. (Devil) Rays, that wonderful site, has the head-to-head results here. All-time, Tampa leads the series 10 games to 5, and they've won four of the five series between the two teams: in 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2006. The Phils took the matchup in 1999.

Of these series, I only have recall of the last two. The 2001 matchup was infuriating, at the time and later: when it began, on June 12, the upstart Phils led the NL East by 3.5 games over Atlanta, and when it ended on June 14, the Devil Rays--18-44 before the three-game set--had a sweep, and the Phils' lead was down to two games. You'll recall that the 2001 Phillies ultimately finished two games behind the Braves; simply winning the series against the consensus worst team in the league, not losing games to the likes of Bryan Rekar (career record: 25-49) and Ryan Rupe (24-38), would have given them a tie for the division.

The 2006 series was a different matter: though it was still frustrating to lose two out of three to a bad team, there was a sense that Tampa had talent enough to beat any team at any time. The series opener saw the still-Devil Rays inflict the second loss of Cole Hamels' young career, led by Carl Crawford's four hits; James Shields, who is likely to square off with Brett Myers in Game Two, notched the win. Scott Kazmir, the Rays' Game One starter, picked up the victory a day later as Tampa beat Scott Mathieson. The Phillies fell behind 3-0 in the series finale, but managed to avoid the sweep with big rallies in the middle innings led by Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and David Dellucci, all of whom had multi-hit games. Ryan Madson started and went 6 2/3 innings for the win.

The Phils' historical futility against Tampa is sadly par for the course with their lousy interleague play record over the years, as we noted a few months back. Needless to say, if there was ever a time to win an interleague series, this would be it...