On Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays will carry a five-game losing streak into Camden Yards to start a 10-game road trip that will also include visits to Anaheim and Seattle. The slide stands as their longest of the season, surpassing a four-game losing streak from April 17-21.
These meetings will mark the first true road games for the Rays against the Baltimore Orioles this season. Tampa Bay was scheduled to play at Camden Yards from May 1-3, but civil unrest in Charm City forced the series to be moved to Tropicana Field.
The Rays hope their offense comes alive on the road. They’ve scored just nine runs in their current losing streak, and six of those came in a loss to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday at Tropicana Field. The Orioles should leave little room for error, though. Baltimore has won four of the six games in the season series between the teams.
Despite an underwhelming start, the Orioles remain close to the top of the American League East. At 22-24, Baltimore stands two games behind the New York Yankees for the division lead. Tampa Bay, holding a 24-24 mark, finds itself in second.
Here’s a closer look at the upcoming Rays-Orioles series …
Evan Longoria (Rays): He hit .348 (8 for 23) with one home run and five RBI in six games from May 22-27. He had two multi-hit contests in the span, including a day when he went 3 for 5 in a loss to the Mariners on May 26. He has hit .284 with five home runs and 23 RBI this season.
Jimmy Paredes (Orioles): He hit .333 (11 for 33) with two RBI in eight games from May 22-28. He had four multi-hit contests in the span. He has hit .340 with six home runs and 25 RBI this season.
Kevin Kiermaier (Rays): He hit .143 (3 for 21) with five strikeouts in six games from May 22-27. He was held hitless in three contests in the span. He has hit .227 with three home runs and 11 RBI this season.
Steve Pearce (Orioles): He hit .176 (3 for 17) with seven strikeouts in seven games from May 22-28. He was held hitless in four contests in the span. He has hit .194 with six home runs and 18 RBI this season.
10: Length, in games, of the Rays’ coming road trip. After the three games in Baltimore, they play the Los Angeles Angels for three games, then the Mariners for four. Tampa Bay won’t return home again until hosting the Angels on June 9.
10-8: Record for the Rays on the road this season. They’re the lone AL East team with a winning road record.
2: Teams with a record of at least .500 in the AL East. The Yankees (25-23) are the lone squad with a winning mark.
"That’s what I’m most proud about, that I was still able to go deep into this game after a rough start." — Right-hander Jake Odorizzi to reporters, after he allowed two runs (one earned), five hits and struck out seven in the Rays’ 4-1 loss to the Mariners on Mondayat Tropicana Field. He’s 3-5 with a 2.31 ERA and 53 strikeouts this season.
"We figured it was going to be quite the pitching duel. It certainly was. I don’t know if we’ve seen a better one this year combined between two starting pitchers." — Manager Kevin Cash, after right-hander Chris Archer and Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez took part in a pitching duel in Tampa Bay’s 3-0 loss Wednesday at Tropicana Field. Archer allowed two hits and struck out 12 in eight innings in a no-decision for him.
"I was trying to go fastball down and away and left it up to a guy who can, obviously, hit the ball a long way." — Reliever Brad Boxberger, after he allowed a three-run home run to Nelson Cruz in the top of the ninth inning of the Rays’ loss to the Mariners on Wednesday. He has a 2.95 ERA with 13 saves and 27 strikeouts this season.