Rays / Orioles Preview: Time To Win

The Tampa Bay Rays begin the final leg of their nine-game road trip, Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles, having lost six of their last seven games.

In those six losses the Rays (4-8) have scored more than one run just twice, and have scored an American League low 35 runs this season.

The Boston Red Sox (8-4) swept Tampa Bay in what was supposed to be a four-game series, but the weather did not cooperate for Friday’s opener. The Rays pitching staff was tremendous in the three games, but unfortunately for them, the Red Sox were a notch better.

Tampa Bay was limited to just 13 hits in the series, and scored three combined runs in three games. Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of Sunday’s game, which was broken up when Kelly Johnson began the inning with a broken-bat bloop single.

Both Saturday and Monday were very winnable games for the Rays. In the ninth inning of both games, Tampa Bay had a runner on second base, with no outs, in a tie ball game and failed to drive the runner in.

The Rays pitching staff boasts a 2.50 pitching staff over the last four games despite earning just one win over that span.

Baltimore (6-6) will return home after a six-game road trip, most recently losing two-of-three to the New York Yankees. In Sunday’s rubber match loss, Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda threw a complete game shutout, limiting the Orioles to just five hits.

This will be the second time in two weeks the Rays and Orioles have faced off, as Baltimore won two-of-three in the opening series of the season.

The opening game of this series is not a classic pitcher’s duel, with Roberto Hernandez (0-2, 6.08 ERA) and Jake Arrieta (0-0, 7.20 ERA) projected to make starts for their respective teams.

Wednesday’s starter Matt Moore (2-0, 0.00 ERA) has been the Rays best pitcher this season. Moore has allowed just three hits in two starts, and has struck out 13 batters.

The Orioles will match Moore with Chris Tillman (0-0, 7.00 ERA). Tillman was rocked in his first outing against the Minnesota Twins, but settled down nicely against the Red Sox, allowing just two runs on six hits.

Tampa Bay will send their ace, David Price, to the mound in Thursday’s series finale. Price (0-0, 5.82 ERA) faced the Orioles on April 2, but did not factor into the decision of the Rays 7-4 loss.

Price will face Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 2.92 ERA), who earned a win against the Rays on April 4, allowing two runs on five hits in 6.1 innings of work.

Following the three-game set with Baltimore, the Rays will return home for three games against the Oakland Athletics.