American League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, July 24th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (49-47) at Baltimore Orioles (51-45), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (4-6, 3.55) Baltimore - Wei-Yin Chen (8-5, 3.80)
(Sports Network) - The struggling Tampa Bay Rays will open a nine-game road trip in Charm City on Tuesday, when they face Wei-Yin Chen and the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game set.
The Rays were once in first place in the American League East, but have gone just 14-22 since June 11 and are now in third, nine games off the pace of the New York Yankees and two games south of the Orioles after dropping the final two tests of a three-game series against Seattle this past weekend.
The Mariners' Blake Beavan spun eight innings of one-run ball on Sunday, lifting Seattle to its second consecutive 2-1 victory over the Rays in the rubber match of the set at Tropicana Field.
Beavan (5-6) surrendered just four hits and didn't walk a batter while striking out five to earn the victory.
Matt Moore (6-7) was the tough-luck loser for Tampa Bay, as he fired eight strong innings of two-run ball, allowing just five hits and striking out seven without walking a batter.
Matt Joyce accounted for the Rays' only run with an RBI single in the first inning as Tampa finished off a season-long 10-game homestand at 4-6.
"We had every opportunity (to win) the past two days," admitted Rays manager Joe Maddon. "Our pitching was good enough to permit us to win. The offense has been challenged lately. We could have, should have been better."
The O's, who are kicking off a six-game homestand tonight, lost for the first time in six games on Monday, dropping a 3-1 decision in Cleveland. Justin Masterson outdueled Tommy Hunter in that one as the Indians took the finale of a four-game set.
Masterson (7-8) held Baltimore to one run on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings, while Hunter (4-5) allowed three runs in seven-plus innings. The Baltimore hurler surrendered eight hits and struck out four as the Orioles saw their season high-tying five-game win streak come to an end.
"I know our guys feel like there was a game there to be won, with the pitching we got," manager Buck Showalter said.
Chen will be facing Tampa Bay for the second time in his rookie season. The left-hander, who halted a personal three-game losing streak at Minnesota last Thursday, struggled mightily in a 5-0 loss at Tampa Bay on June 1, allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Chen's counterpart, Jeremy Hellickson, is going through a miserable 0-6 stretch over his last nine starts, but is 4-2 with a 2.36 ERA in his career against the Orioles.
These teams have split previous meetings this season, with the Orioles taking two of three games from Tampa Bay at Camden Yards from May 11-13.
07/24 10:48:05 ET