American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, August 3rd
(All times Eastern)
Baltimore Orioles (55-50) at Tampa Bay Rays (55-50), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Tommy Hunter (4-6, 5.68)
Tampa Bay - Matt Moore (7-7, 4.01)
(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays return home after a successful road trip
tonight to start a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana
Pitching drove the Rays on their 6-3 trek, as they pitched to a 1.70 ERA and
claimed series wins in Baltimore, Anaheim and most recently, Oakland.
On Wednesday against Oakland, Alex Cobb fired seven innings of one-run ball,
propelling Tampa to a 4-1 win. Carlos Pena clubbed an RBI double and added a
solo home run in the eighth for the Rays, who enter tonight's set tied with
the Orioles for second place in the American League East and 1 1/2 games back
of the second wild card spot in the league.
Cobb (5-8) surrendered just four hits and one walk while striking out six to
snap a three-start losing skid. Fernando Rodney tossed a scoreless ninth to
nail down his 31st save of the season.
"We played very good ball clubs. We took series away from home, on the road,
which is always a good sign," said Pena of his team's recent trip. "A 6-3 road
trip is something that we need to be pleased about and we are."
Since the All-Star break Tampa's staff leads the majors with a 2.45 ERA, 197
strikeouts and a .200 opponents' batting average
"As long as our pitchers are on a roll, we have a good shot," Rays manager Joe
Hoping to continue that run tonight will be 23-year-old lefty Matt Moore, who
is coming off one of his better starts this season. Moore defeated the Angels
on Saturday, scattering four hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings to run his
record to 7-7, while lowering his ERA to 4.01.
"Obviously I'm going to try and build on that by getting ahead," Moore said.
"Try and finish hitters a little bit quicker."
He has gone 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his last three starts.
Moore beat Baltimore the last time he faced the club and is 1-1 with a 3.09
ERA in three games (2 starts) in this series.
Baltimore enters this set after an impressive series win over the division-
leading New York Yankees. The Orioles, though, were denied the sweep in
Wednesday's finale, falling 12-3.
Still and all, the Orioles are above .500 (55-50) this late in a season for
the first time since they were 60-60 on Aug. 17, 2005.
Getting the call for the Orioles tonight will be righty Tommy Hunter, who is
4-6 with a 5.68 ERA. Hunter pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief on
Wednesday, but is still scheduled to go tonight.
Hunter is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in four starts against the Rays, but hasn't
faced them since 2010.
Tampa has won five of its nine matchups with the Orioles this season.
08/03 10:28:52 ET