Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays game preview
While Chris Davis tries to extend his power surge, the Baltimore Orioles will seek consecutive wins for just the second time in nearly a month.
The Orioles will also try to keep the Tampa Bay Rays’ lineup mired in its slump in Sunday’s series finale at Tropicana Field.
Davis’ grand slam in a 5-1 victory over the Rays on Saturday was his third homer in four games and team-best 22nd. He’s also batting .313 in an eight-game hit streak, but the Orioles are hitting .181 with 14 runs in the last five games of a 6-15 stretch that began June 29.
"Obviously, when you score you want to keep scoring and you don’t want to stop or slow down, but I think we did a great job tonight of having good at-bats, making them work and taking advantage of opportunities to score," Davis told MLB’s official website.
Baltimore (47-49), which snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday, earned its only back-to-back wins in its last 21 contests in Detroit last weekend.
The Rays (49-50) are also in an offensive funk, having scored four runs or less in 12 consecutive games, their second-longest such run in franchise history behind a 17-game stretch in September 2000. They’ve totaled 30 runs in the last 12 while batting .202 and have scored 85 while losing 20 of 29 since June 20.
"Most teams go through something like this," catcher Curt Casali said. "People can say what they want about the depth of our lineup, but I’m not buying that. We have major league hitters on this team and we are going to continue to grind it out and sneak out wins however we can."
Wei-Yin Chen (4-6, 2.86 ERA) will try to keep the Rays’ lineup from breaking out and earn his first win in four starts. The left-hander has a 2.47 ERA in eight starts since the beginning of June but has been backed by five runs of support in his last three outings.
Chen allowed 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings on Tuesday but limited the New York Yankees to three runs in a 3-2 loss.
Chen pitched at least six innings while allowing three runs or fewer in two May starts against Tampa Bay but didn’t get a win in either game while getting one total run of support.
Matt Moore (1-1, 7.23) opposes him in his fifth start back from Tommy John surgery. The left-hander has gotten through five innings just once and took a 5-3 loss in Philadelphia on Monday, allowing four runs in 4 2-3 innings.
Moore hasn’t faced Baltimore since June 9, 2013, when he gave up career highs of nine runs and 12 hits in five innings in a 10-7 loss. He had a 1.89 ERA in his first six career starts against the Orioles.
Adam Jones (9 for 19 with two homers) and Matt Wieters (8 for 14 with two homers) thrived against Moore before his surgery in April 2014. Davis was 2 for 13.
Neither Jones nor Wieters have enjoyed much success at the plate lately, however, with Jones going 2 for 16 in his last four games and Wieters 2 for 23 in his last six.
Brandon Guyer, batting .188 in 15 games this month, is 4 for 8 with three doubles against Chen this season.