Rays-Orioles Preview

The Baltimore Orioles are giving Jair Jurrjens a chance to

revive his major league career.

Making his Orioles debut, Jurrjens tries to help his new team

avoid a season-high fourth consecutive loss Saturday against the

visiting Tampa Bay Rays.

Jurrjens was an All-Star with Atlanta in 2011 when he finished

13-6 with a 2.96 ERA. However, the Braves sent him to the minors

after he started 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA in four starts last season.

Jurrjens was recalled in June and went 3-2 with a 5.63 ERA in six

starts before a strained groin ended his season in early

August.

After Atlanta opted not to re-sign him, Jurrjens agreed to a

minor league deal with Baltimore (23-18) in February. The

27-year-old right-hander went 4-1 with a 3.14 ERA in eight starts

for Triple-A Norfolk this season.

“If the command is there, he’ll give us a chance to win,”

manager Buck Showalter told the Orioles’ official website. “It’s

been a long journey for him. I’m sure (Saturday), I don’t know if

anxiety’s the word. He’s done this before. We’ll see. I’m anxious

to see.”

With an oblique injury to Wei-Yin Chen, Jurrjens is getting the

opportunity to secure a spot in Baltimore’s rotation.

“I haven’t really been paying attention to my velocity,” said

Jurrjens, who is 53-37 with a 4.04 ERA in six seasons. “I really

cannot tell you how fast I am throwing. I’m just happy with the way

I’ve been performing the last couple outings. I’m getting a lot of

swings and misses again, and that’s a good sign. I’m just trying to

repeat my delivery and keep being consistent and keep on getting

innings.”

This will be his first appearance versus Tampa Bay (21-20),

which held on for a 12-10 series-opening win Friday.

While the Rays have won seven of nine, Baltimore has allowed 17

hits in each of the last two games and an average of 6.1 runs while

losing five of seven.

Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar each had three hits and combined

for seven RBIs for Tampa Bay, which almost blew a 12-4 lead when

the Orioles scored six times in the eighth.

“We really should have been able to put that game away a lot

better,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said after his team scored its

most runs of the season.

Escobar is 10 for 23 (.435) with four doubles and six RBIs in

six games.

Teammate Evan Longoria added two hits, and is batting .419 with

12 RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak. He’s batted .389 while

hitting safely in nine straight versus Baltimore.

Scheduled Tampa Bay starter Roberto Hernandez (2-4, 4.43) has

allowed two or fewer runs in three of four starts, and three with

10 hits over 12 innings while going 1-0 in the last two. The

right-hander gave up two runs in six innings of a 4-2 win over San

Diego on Sunday.

Hernandez is 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA against the Orioles this

season.

Baltimore’s Adam Jones is 5 for 10 with two doubles versus

Hernandez.

Chris Dickerson hit a three-run homer while Chris Davis, Manny

Machado and Matt Wieters each had two RBIs on Friday for the

Orioles.

Davis is batting .414 with 24 RBIs in his last 16 games against

the Rays.