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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, August 21st (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (72-52) at Baltimore Orioles (67-58), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (10-6, 4.91) Baltimore - Wei-Yin Chen (6-6, 3.23)
(Sports Network) - Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson can stay dominant in his career against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night when the Tampa Bay Rays visit them to close out a three-game series at Camden Yards.
The Rays hold the top slot in the American League wild card playoff chase, which they lead by a 1 1/2 games over Oakland and 5 1/2 games over the Orioles.
Tampa Bay is also dead-even with Boston atop the AL East, where they have played four fewer games than the Red Sox. The Orioles are third in the East as well, 5 1/2 games behind the Rays and Red Sox.
The teams entered the series in a flat-footed 135-135 tie in their all-time series, which began in 1998. The Rays won seven of the first 12 games with the Orioles in 2013, including two of three in Florida when they last met from June 7 to 9.
Hellickson, the AL's Rookie of the Year in 2011, reached double-digit wins for the third consecutive season on July 26 with a 10-6 defeat of the New York Yankees in the Bronx.
He's gone 0-3 in four subsequent starts, however, losing to Arizona twice and the Los Angeles Dodgers while the Rays were outscored, 21-3.
He tossed six innings and allowed three runs in his most recent start, from which he got a no-decision in Tampa Bay's 5-4 defeat of Toronto on Aug. 16.
The 26-year-old is 8-3 in 15 career meetings with the Orioles, having held Baltimore batters to a measly .220 average in 90 1/3 innings of work.
For the Orioles, 28-year-old Taiwanese lefty Wei-Yin Chen aims to end a three- start losing skid.
He was 6-3 on the year after a 4-3 defeat of Houston on July 30 in Baltimore, but has since fallen to Seattle, San Francisco and Colorado while surrendering 10 runs on 15 hits in 19 1/3 innings.
The Orioles have been outscored in those games, 12-7.
Chen is 1-3 in six career starts against the Rays with a 3.00 ERA in 39 innings.
On Tuesday night, Alex Cobb pitched into the seventh inning and Matt Joyce knocked in three runs, including a two-run double in the ninth, in Tampa Bay's 7-4 victory.
Wil Myers stroked a two-run single in the final inning, while Ben Zobrist went 2-for-5 with an RBI double. Yunel Escobar had three hits and an RBI for the Rays, who won for the sixth time in seven games.
Cobb (8-2), in his second start since returning from two months on the disabled list because of a concussion, stretched his unbeaten streak to 10 starts. The right-hander is 5-0 in that stretch and hasn't lost since April 30 at Kansas City.
Cobb gave up three hits and a pair of runs -- one earned -- over six-plus innings.
Miguel Gonzalez (8-6) surrendered eight hits and three runs -- two earned -- over 5 2/3 innings for the fading Orioles, who lost for the sixth time in eight games.
Matt Wieters belted a two-run homer for the O's, who gave up 15 hits, one night after rapping out the same number of hits in a 4-3 loss.
08/21 10:38:18 ET