Preview: Rays try to close out series with third straight win vs. Orioles
TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 1 p.m.
BALTIMORE — Seeking to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Tampa Bay Rays will look for their third straight win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday at Camden Yards.
After dropping the series opener Thursday night, the Rays (76-79) have taken the last two in this four-game weekend series behind their big bats and starting pitching.
Lucas Duda and Logan Morrison each went deep in Saturday’s 9-6 win over the Orioles, as the Rays set a single-season franchise record for home runs. They now have 218 this season.
“It’s cool,” said Morrison, who clubbed his 37th of the season on the first pitch of the ninth inning Saturday night. “We’ve had some guys set some career highs. That’s one aspect of the game where we have done pretty well this year.”
Starting pitchers Alex Cobb and Jake Odorizzi, meanwhile, turned in solid outings back-to-back to keep Tampa Bay five games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second American League wild-card spot.
Odorizzi struck out a season-high nine batters and only allowed three hits over six innings in Saturday’s win.
The Orioles (74-82) were eliminated from postseason contention with Saturday’s loss, their 14th in their last 17 games.
“It’s unfortunate, but like I said, we’re not going to stop playing hard,” said left fielder Trey Mancini, who is riding a career-long hitting streak of 13 games. “It’s a 162-game season. It is tough to be eliminated from postseason contention, but still got a week of baseball left.”
For Sunday’s series finale, the Rays will send Chris Archer to the mound.
Archer is looking for his first win since Aug. 22. He has lost each of his last four starts after experiencing discomfort in his right forearm.
Rays manager Kevin Cash dismissed the idea that the injury is lingering and affecting Archer’s performance. In his most recent start Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs, Archer gave the Rays six solid innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and striking out six.
“We would not be pitching him if there was any concern,” Cash said. “He’s 100 percent healthy, very strong. You can see that by the stuff he is featuring every fifth day.”
Archer will be making his 33rd start of the season. He is 9-11 with a 4.02 ERA in 192 1/3 innings pitched.
“I think Arch has had a good year,” Cash said. “You look at just the body of work, the innings that he’s provided, the opportunities he’s gone out there with and given us a chance to win, I think he’s had a solid year. I’d like to see him finish strong.”
In 15 prior starts against the Orioles, Archer is 4-7 with a 4.78 ERA. He is 1-4 all-time at Camden Yards.
This season, Archer is 1-1 against the Orioles with a 6.39 ERA. He won his last start against them June 23 in Tampa Bay, allowing five earned runs on seven hits over six innings. Archer also lost to the Orioles at Camden Yards on April 24.
The Orioles will counter with their best starting pitcher this season, Dylan Bundy.
Having already logged a career high for innings pitched, Bundy will make his 29th start of the season Sunday.
Bundy has not won since Aug. 29. In his last start, he was hammered by the Boston Red Sox for six earned runs on seven hits before earning a no-decision last Monday.
Overall, Bundy has thrown 169 2/3 innings this season. That’s 60 more than he threw last season. He is 13-9 with a 4.24 ERA.
This will be the fourth start Bundy has made against the Rays this season. He is 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA over the previous three. After earning a no-decision against Tampa Bay on April 16 at Camden Yards, Bundy beat the Rays on June 24 in Tampa and lost to them July 1 at home.
In six career starts against Tampa Bay, Bundy is 1-2 with a 6.26 ERA.