Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays game preview
The Baltimore Orioles have followed a five-game losing streak by winning four of five, despite schedule changes that included a home series on the road.
The Orioles attempt to continue building momentum behind their pitching staff by concluding this three-game series with back-to-back wins over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Sunday.
The Orioles (11-11) won back-to-back games over Boston before having two games against the Chicago White Sox postponed when riots created an unsafe environment in Baltimore. The Orioles have since won two of three with the pitchers compiling a 0.67 ERA and the starters reaching at least the seventh inning each time.
Miguel Gonzalez went 7 2-3 while combining with Brad Brach on a four-hitter in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over the Rays (13-11) in the second game of a series that was moved from Camden Yards to Tropicana due to the rioting.
Wei-Yin Chen seems poised to keep the strong pitching stretch going seeing as he has a 1.96 ERA and .177 opponents’ batting average in his last three starts. The left-hander hasn’t pitched since allowing two runs and four hits in eight innings in a 5-4, 10-inning win over Boston on April 25.
However, Chen (0-1, 2.78 ERA) allowed three runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-5 win at Tampa Bay on April 7, and is 0-1 with a 4.68 ERA over his last five starts in the series.
The Rays, who are trying to rebound from their first loss in seven games at Tropicana, have been held to four hits in each of the first two games of this series.
Logan Forsythe had two of them Saturday, and is 6 for 16 (.375) with two doubles and one triple over the past four games. He’s connected for two homers on four hits in 14 at-bats versus Chen, hitting a two-run shot April 7.
Nathan Karns (1-1, 4.76) has allowed nine runs and three homers with six walks in 10 innings over two starts against Baltimore. He got the nod opposite Chen last month, and surrendered six runs – four in the first – while walking four, hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch in 5 2-3 innings in his worst performance of the season.
The right-hander is coming off his shortest of 2015. He tossed four scoreless innings in Monday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees, but was charged with a run after being pulled with two outs in the fifth with the bases loaded.
Karns will try to quiet Steve Pearce, who had a two-run double Saturday. He went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer off Karns last month, while Adam Jones plated two on a double in the first inning.
It’s uncertain if Tampa Bay’s Desmond Jennings will play after being a late scratch Saturday. He has missed the last six games with knee soreness.
"He’s busted it trying to get back, but it’s not progressing the way we want it to," Rays manager Kevin Cash told MLB’s official website. "It just wouldn’t have been a smart decision on my part to send him out there not feeling totally comfortable."