Though the Baltimore Orioles have yet to lose to the Tampa Bay Rays this season, they haven’t fared too well against David Price of late.
The visiting Orioles hope to end those recent struggles against the left-hander while trying to record a series sweep with their fifth consecutive victory over the Rays on Thursday night.
Baltimore (17-14) dropped 11 of the final 13 meetings last season with Tampa Bay before outscoring the Rays 19-7 to win the first four this year. After snapping a four-game series road skid with Tuesday’s 5-3 victory, the Orioles rode a pair of solo homers from Adam Jones to a 4-3 win Wednesday.
After hitting 65 home runs over the past two seasons, Jones entered Wednesday with one.
"Felt good to get the ball out of the infield," he said. "You’ve got to keep swinging, got to stay after it."
Jones is 5 for 12 with four RBIs in the last three games versus Tampa Bay (15-19), which was last swept at home by the Orioles from April 1-3, 2011.
He went 4 for 12 last season against Price (3-2, 4.44 ERA), who is 7-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 16 starts against the Orioles, including 3-0 with a 2.29 ERA in the last eight of those matchups. Price has gone 1-0 with a 1.37 ERA in his last four versus Baltimore at Tropicana Field.
He tossed a complete game during a 7-3 win over Minnesota in his last home outing April 22, then gave up eight runs – six earned – and nine hits in six-plus innings of a 9-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on April 27. Price bounced back Friday by allowing two runs and eight hits in seven innings of a 10-5, 14-inning victory at Yankee Stadium.
"He’s good and he knows it and he really shoulders the responsibility well," manager Joe Maddon told the Rays’ official website.
"He’s never been one to run away from shouldering responsibility. … This guy’s always accepted (the) weight. So none of that surprises me."
The Orioles counter with Ubaldo Jimenez (1-4, 5.19), who went 0-4 with a 6.59 ERA in his first five starts before he allowed three hits and struck out 10 over 7 1-3 innings of a 3-0 victory at Minnesota on Friday.
"He’s such an engaging likable young man, but don’t ever underestimate the drive and the want that he has," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
The right-hander improved to 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA in four starts versus Tampa Bay after he yielded four hits and struck out seven in eight innings of a 5-0 victory for Cleveland last season. In his only appearance at Tropicana Field in 2012, Jimenez gave up five runs and five walks over 5 2-3 innings of a 6-0 defeat.
Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria is 1 for 6 with three strikeouts against Jimenez, and 2 for 15 with a homer versus Baltimore this season.
Teammate Wil Myers is batting .375 (9 for 24) in his last five games overall, and .438 (7 for 16) in his last four at home against the Orioles after going 0 for 12 in his first two there. He has never faced Jimenez.