The Rays make their way to Baltimore Friday for the start of a three game set against the 23-17 Orioles. To call the Rays series loss to the Red Sox was a disappointment would be putting things mildly. Tampa Bay hoped to leave the confines of the Trop tied for third, yet they enter Baltimore in fourth place — back at .500 — following a pair of losses.
The Orioles, like the Rays, have dropped their last two games, entering the series 6-4 in their last 10 games. Baltimore has also scuffled a bit over the last 14 days, averaging just under four runs per game. That isn’t to say that Tampa Bay is somehow better suited to win the next three games though, rather the contrary.
The Rays averaged just over three runs per game against the Red Sox, while — with the exception of Cobb, Moore, Peralta, Ramos, and Leuke — the pitching staff largely dropped the ball. Let’s be honest; Hellickson — who gets the start Friday — has given up a pair of consecutive big leads, while Hernandez is still fairly unproven in the starting rotation. Consider too, that Tampa Bay has been less than impressive on the road, only winning six of 18 matches away from the Trop this year. Not good. The only consolation is that the Orioles are just one game over .500 at home.
Rays Hitters Vs. the Orioles Series Starters
Jason Hammel: Tampa Bay last faced Hammel on Opening Day and lost by a score 7-4. Hammel posted a 6 IP/3 H/3 R/3 ER/1 BB/2 K slash line on that fateful day. He’s still relatively unfamiliar to Tampa Bay, having only accrued 117 at-bats against the Rays in the last few years. Nevertheless he has been very good against the Rays, as evidenced by Tampa Bay’s combined .222 BA/.268 OBP/.427 SLG/.695 OPS slash line. Key Match-ups: Desmond Jennings (1-3, 2B, RBI), Kelly Johnson (6-21, 2B, HR, 2 RBI), James Loney (9-31, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8 RBI), Ben Zobrist (2-4, HR, 2 RBI).
Jair Jurrjens: Per Rotowire, “Jurrjens will be called up to start Saturday against Baltimore, FOX Sports reports.” According to scouting reports, “Jurrjens has a smooth, easily repeatable delivery, with a 3/4 arm slot. He knows how to pitch, and adds/subtracts on his fastball depending on the situation. He throws his fastball 63% of the time (averaged 91 mph). He also throws a decent slider (80 mph), and a change-up (83 mph). He’s been hurt by hitters getting extra base hits on his slider and change-up. He used to be a ground ball pitcher (52% in 2008), but that has slowly reversed, and he is now a fly-ball pitcher (40% gb%). He has below average K/9 (6.7), and average swing and miss % (8.9%). His walk rate is also league average (3.2 BB/9).” This will be his first appearance against
Chris Tillman: Per Rotowire, “Tillman was stellar Tuesday against the Padres, giving up just one earned run on four hits and two walks, while striking out seven in seven innings.” Tampa Bay handed it to Tillman back in April, tagging him for four runs on six hits — including a pair of homers — and two walks in five innings of work. Tillman is 1-3 with a plus five ERA in 30 total innings of work against the Rays since 2010, with Tampa Bay hammering him for 20 runs (all earned) and seven homers in that span. Key Match-ups: Sam Fuld (2-5, 2B, 2 RBI), Kelly Johnson (2-3, HR, RBI), James Loney (2-6, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Evan Longoria (7-15, 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB), Ryan Roberts (1-3, HR, RBI, 2 BB).
- Jeremy Hellickson is 6-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 12 starts against the Orioles. But he’s pitched with a lead in four consecutive starts and has not won any of them. No pressure, young Jeremy. See, despite a 5-1 record, Hammel’s ERA sits at 4.93 through eight starts. Meaning Helly has little to no wiggle room if the Rays can put together a lead Friday night. I’d imagine that Maddon may put him on a short leash.
- The Rays have lost six of seven at Camden Yards.
- According to Joe Maddon, “Twice during this homestand (Rodney has) been one pitch away from really being pretty darn good,” manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s the incredible nature of our game, and that’s part of the beauty of the game. But we’ll come back, we’ll play tomorrow, we’ll file this away, we’ll try to continue to get better and I think we will.” Umm, Joe…I typically agree with you. However, he was MORE than one pitch away from being pretty darn good Thursday night.
We’ll post more shortly.