American League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, May 18th
(All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (21-20) at Baltimore Orioles (23-18), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Robert Hernandez (2-4, 4.43)
Baltimore - Jair Jurrjens (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - Jair Jurrjens will make his Baltimore debut on Saturday
when the Orioles host the Tampa Bay Rays in the middle test of a three-game
series at Camden Yards..
Tampa Bay won Friday's opener, 12-10, as Kelly Johnson finished 3-for-5 with a
three- run homer, four RBI and two runs scored in the slugfest. The Rays
jumped out to a 12-4 lead and held off the Orioles' late rally to reward
starter Jeremy Hellickson with the decision.
"I think it would have been horrific in baseball terms (had the Rays lost),"
Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We've lost some huge leads. We have. But have
bounced in a good way. That's the one part about baseball that's the most
devastating within a group is to lose leads late, often. That's not good."
Baltimore, which has lost three in a row, held a 3-1 lead heading into the
third but could not keep up as every Rays starter notched at least one base
Jurrjens, meanwhile, will hope to have better success against the Rays as he
makes his first major league start since July 22. In 2011, he went 13-6 with a
2.96 ERA and represented Atlanta in the All-Star game before suffering a right
knee injury that cut his season short. However, the Braves sent him down to
the minors after an 0-2 start last season. Jurrjens was recalled in June and
went 3-2 with a 5.63 ERA in six starts.
The 27-year old right-hander signed a minor league deal with Baltimore over
the winter and was given the call to start on Saturday to replace the injured
Wei- Yin Chen. Jurrjens went 4-1 with a 3.14 ERA in eight starts in Triple-A
"I've been just trying to get my stuff back together and just keep working,
and trying to have fun again playing baseball," Jurrjens said. "I've been
doing that, and have been working hard to try and get better."
Baltimore has given up 17 hits in each of its last two games and an average of
6.1 runs while losing five of its last seven. The Rays have won seven of their
last nine games.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter shook things up on Friday with three players
starting at a position for the first time this season. Yamaico Navarro played
second base, Chris Dickerson was in left field, and Nate McLouth slotted in at
designated hitter. Navarro went 2-for-4 with a triple in his first MLB action
of the season. Dickerson improved his average on the year to .320 after
hitting a three-run home run in Friday's loss.
Opposing Jurrjens for Tampa Bay will be the right-handed Robert Hernandez, who
went six strong innings against the Padres on Sunday. Hernandez has thrown six
or more innings in six of his last seven starts and carries a 2-4 record with
a 4.43 ERA into this one.
Hernandez is 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA against Baltimore this season, but he will
have plenty of run support of the Rays' offense continues its recent trend.
Evan Longoria extended his hitting streak to 11 games on Friday with two hits
to bring his average to .419 during that span. Yunel Escobar is 10-for-23 with
four doubles and six RBI over his past six games.
These teams met up for a pair of series in April, and Baltimore won two out of
three both times.
05/18 10:23:22 ET
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