The Tampa Bay Rays finished off the Blue Jays in grandiose fashion Sunday afternoon, with Jose Lobaton mashing his second career walk-off hit — a one run blast to right-field in the bottom of the tenth. Both career walk-offs came in this series. And what a series it was for Jose Lobaton. In the two games he started, Lobi went 4-8 with a triple, homer, run, and three runs batted in. The Rays overall production dropped between the Mariners and Blue Jays’ series, however we saw what could be construed as a return to form for Jeremy Hellickson (who’ll be pitching Wednesday night) and Chris Archer. Tampa Bay closed out its six game home stand with a 4-2 record ahead of their upcoming three-game road trip against the third place Orioles.
Sitting three and a half games behind the Rays, Baltimore has gone 7-7 over a 14 game stretch while outscoring opponents 79-64. Their production has been largely bolstered by Chris Davis who’s mashed six homers (45 on the season) in that stretch, plating 16 runs and crossing the plate 12 times. In short, he won’t be easy to pitch against.
David Price will get the start for the Rays Monday night. The 2012 Cy Young Award winner has had his way against the Orioles, going 6-2 with a 2.60 ERA over 14 career starts. Adam Jones is 5 for his last 29 with nine strikeouts against Price, while Nick Markakis is 5 for his last 24. Prices is 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA in seven career outings in Baltimore. The Orioles will counter with Chris Tillman who’s limited opponents to a .222 average in winning six consecutive home starts. Baltimore has won 13 of his last 15 overall. Two of Tillman’s three losses have come at the hands of Tampa Bay. Led by Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist, the Rays have taken him deep five times in three starts this year. Longoria has gone 8-16 with three homers and two doubles and Zobrist also has three homers against him. Tillman is 2-5 with a 4.77 ERA in 10 outings in the series.
Cobb put together a solid comeback outing Thursday night and, as I mentioned above, Hellickson showed signs of slipping out of his malaise Friday. It will be interesting to see if Helly can keep the Orioles off base — he’s not nearly as effective with runners on base and/or runners in scoring position as he is when the base paths are clear.
Chris Tillman: Per Rotowire, “Tillman gave up two earned runs on five hits over six innings but did not factor into the decision against Arizona on Wednesday.” Key match-ups: Sam Fuld (2-5, 2 B, 2 RBI), Kelly Johnson (3-8, HR, 2 RBI), Evan Longoria (2 2B, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB).
Miguel Gonzalez: Per Rotowire, “Gonzalez allowed just five hits and two earned runs over 7.0 innings but was left with a no-decision Tuesday.” Gonzalez is 1-0 against the Rays this season, though he’s given up six earned runs on 13 hits including three homers — all in 12 innings of work. Key match-ups: Yunel Escobar (3-10, 2B, BB), Kelly Johnson (2-7, 2B, RBI, BB), Jose Lobaton (1-4, RBI), James Loney (2-8, RBI), Evan Longoria (4-11, HR, RBI, BB), Jose Molina (3-8, HR, 2 RBI).
Wei-Yin Chen: Per Rotowire, “Chen took the loss Saturday against San Francisco despite turning in a quality start. He gave up three runs on five hits and one walk, with two strikeouts over six innings.” The Orioles have lost in four of Chen’s last five starts, though he’s given up more than three earned runs in only one of those starts — four in his last start against the Rockies. Chen gave up two earned runs in his last start against the Rays back in April. Key match-ups: Sam Fuld (3-8, BB), Matt Joyce (1-4, 2 BB), Evan Longoria (2-7, BB), Ben Zobrist (8-18, HR, 3 RBI).
- Jose Lobaton tweeted, Look what @RaysJoeMaddon just give to me OMG I need to eat this before it melts.”
- Tampa Bay leads the series 7-5 while outscoring the Orioles 73-65.
- After going 29-9 in one run games last season, the Orioles haven’t fared nearly as well in 2013, going 14-21. The Rays are 19-17.
- Ryan Roberts cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Durham. He’s expected to report Monday.
We’ll post more later.