Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles series primer

Chris Archer will look to go to 2-0 in the series opener at Baltimore.

Kim Klement/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This is becoming a road trip of attrition.

It started with left-hander Matt Moore’s elbow problem April 7 in Kansas City, one that required a visit to Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. Now, right-hander Alex Cobb has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain after his start Saturday in Cincinnati.

Time to call another audible.

Remember the fifth-starter competition in spring training to replace Jeremy Hellickson? Turns out, one choice wasn’t the only answer. Each possibility has become a factor in the Rays’ rotation.

Of course, right-hander Jake Odorizzi was tapped for the role near the end of the Grapefruit League schedule. But with injuries to Moore and Cobb, left-handers Cesar Ramos and Erik Bedard will carry more responsibility in the coming days.

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Ramos received the start Sunday in a 12-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Bedard, promoted from Triple-A Durham on Sunday, made his Rays debut that afternoon in relief and is the likely option to replace Cobb in the rotation Thursday against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Circumstances have changed fast.

Good news for Tampa Bay: Two of the three starters in the upcoming series against the Baltimore Orioles are trusted options. Right-hander Chris Archer starts Monday and ace left-hander David Price pitches Wednesday. On Tuesday, Odorizzi looks to rebound from a rough start on April 9 in Kansas City, where he allowed seven runs and 10 hits in five innings.

Here’s a look at the upcoming Rays-Orioles series:

SCHEDULE AND PROBABLE PITCHERS

WHO’S HOT

Ben Zobrist (Tampa Bay Rays): He hit .304 with three home runs and five RBI in six games from April 7-13. He had two home runs and four RBI in the loss to the Reds on Sunday. He’s hitting .277 with three home runs and six RBI for the season.

Delmon Young (Baltimore Orioles): He hit .474 with one home run and three RBI in four games from April 7-13. He had consecutive three-hit games against the Yankees last Tuesday and Wednesday. He’s hitting .400 with one home run and four RBI for the season.

WHO’S NOT

Desmond Jennings (Tampa Bay Rays): He hit .118 with two RBI and seven strikeouts in six games from April 7-13. He’s hitting .233 with one home run and four RBI for the season.

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Ryan Flaherty (Baltimore Orioles): He hit .267 with two strikeouts in five games from April 7-13. He’s hitting .152 with nine strikeouts for the season.

STORYLINES

8: Losses by the Rays to the Reds before taking two of three games at Great American Ball Park over the weekend. Despite the series win, Tampa Bay was outscored a combined 13-7.

4: Times that Rays starters had thrown at least seven shutout innings in the last six games, after right-hander Alex Cobb did so by allowing just four hits in seven innings in Tampa Bay’s 1-0 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday.

3-3: Rays’ record in their opening road trip after stops in Kansas City and Cincinnati. Their stop in Baltimore is their last before returning home for seven games against the Yankees and Minnesota Twins.

QUOTE BOARD

"Never had a doubt." — Price after he allowed one run, four hits and struck out 10 in 8 1/3 innings during the Rays’ 2-1 victory over the Reds on Friday. He threw 114 pitches, 85 for strikes.

"I wanted to come up here and contribute any way I could. For me to throw (Joey) Votto out at home, especially in a 1-0 game, just made it that much better. It was a pivotal time in the game." — Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier after he threw out Votto in the fourth inning of the Rays’ victory Saturday. Votto tried to score on Brandon Phillips’ single to center field.

"One of those days, man. You just file it and move on. This is less than the 30-minute rule. This is the 30-second rule. Just drop it and move on." — Manager Joe Maddon after the Rays’ loss to the Reds on Sunday. Tampa Bay’s depleted staff surrendered 13 hits in the defeat.

LOOKING AHEAD

April 17-20 — Yankees at Rays

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.