American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, September 11th
(All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (77-63) at Baltimore Orioles (78-62), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Matt Moore (10-9, 3.66)
Baltimore - Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.46)
(Sports Network) - After being unable to gain ground on first place in the AL
East, the Baltimore Orioles next have to worry about keeping a hold on their
wild card position.
For the Tampa Bay Rays, they enter a week in which they can make up some
serious ground in their quest for a postseason spot.
The Rays begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday night with the first of three
straight games with the Orioles in a pivotal division matchup.
The O's finish up their seven-game stay at home with this series following a
four-game split with the first-place New York Yankees which left Baltimore a
game behind New York in the division and also just a game up on Tampa Bay for
the league's second wild card position.
The Rays are making a late charge, having won six of eight. That includes
series wins over the Yankees and AL West-leading Texas Rangers on a recent
homestand. They'll now visit Baltimore to begin this week before another big
weekend series in the Bronx against the Yankees.
Tampa Bay earned the series win over Texas thanks to Sunday's 6-0 victory that
featured three home runs by B.J. Upton and a gem on the mound from starter
Upton's first career three-homer game backed a two-hit shutout by Shields, who
also struck out eight and did not walk a batter.
"You kind of dream about doing things like that and they don't happen very
often," said Upton, who is hitting .407 in eight September games with five
Hoping to mimic Shields tonight will be left-hander Matt Moore, who has lost
two straight starts.
Moore pitched well in a 2-0 setback to the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 30, but
was tagged for six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and a walk with nine
strikeouts over 6 1/3 frames of a 6-4 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday.
That dropped the 23-year-old to 10-9 with a 3.66 earned run average in 27
starts this season.
Moore has given Baltimore all it can handle this season, going 2-1 against the
club in three starts while posting a 1.15 ERA.
The Orioles hope to solve Moore on Tuesday after a rough series finale versus
the Yankees on Sunday. After getting three runs in the fourth inning to cut
their deficit to two, the O's managed just a hit over 5 2/3 frames against New
York's bullpen in a 13-3 defeat.
Zach Britton took the loss, allowing five runs on five hits and five walks in
just 3 1/3 innings.
"Obviously we didn't want to split, we wanted to win (the series)," Britton
said. "But we have a lot of games left and we're in a good place."
Baltimore's quest for a playoff spot took an additional hit in the series when
Nick Markakis suffered a fractured left thumb in Saturday's win. He is
scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday and hopes to return in four weeks.
Jason Hammel recently returned from injury himself and he makes his second
start for Baltimore after missing nearly two months of action following knee
The 30-year-old righty made his first start since July 13 on Thursday and did
not factor into Baltimore's series-opening 10-6 win over the Yankees. He
allowed a run on six hits and two walks over five-plus innings and stayed in
the game despite taking a liner off his right elbow.
Hammel, who had lost four straight starts before his injury and hasn't won
since June 22, is 8-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 19 starts this season and faces the
Rays for the first time.
The Rays and Orioles have split 12 meetings so far this season, including six
encounters in Baltimore.
09/11 10:47:10 ET