Rays-Tigers Preview

Struggles at the plate are a big reason why the Tampa Bay Rays

are on a costly season-high losing streak. Having David Price take

the mound against the Detroit Tigers should give them a good chance

to halt it.

Price looks to gain sole possession of the AL wins lead when the

Rays open a three-game series at Detroit on Monday night.

Since being alone atop the AL East after a 6-4 win over

Minnesota on Tuesday, Tampa Bay (67-44) has hit .149 in losing five

in a row to fall behind New York in the division chase.

Those offensive issues were obvious Sunday, as Tampa was one-hit

by Toronto’s Brandon Morrow in a 1-0 loss, getting swept in a

three-game set by a club well behind in the playoff race.

The Rays have been no-hit twice this season.

“I was beginning to think no-hitters were kind of commonplace,”

said third baseman Evan Longoria, who broke up Morrow’s no-hit bid

with two outs in the ninth. “It seems like we’ve been a part of and

watched so many this year.”

Price (14-5, 2.82 ERA) will need some help to stop Tampa Bay’s

losing streak. The All-Star left-hander didn’t get much Wednesday,

allowing one run while striking out seven in seven innings of a

2-1, 13-inning loss to the Twins. The Rays managed five hits.

The lack of production cost Price a chance to become the AL’s

first 15-game winner. He’s tied with Minnesota’s Carl Pavano and

New York’s CC Sabathia for the lead in victories, and his ERA is

among the lowest in the AL.

Price may be in good position to take over the wins lead as he

faces Detroit (54-57).

The Rays swept a four-game home set with the Tigers from July

26-29, with Price capping the series with a 4-2 win. He allowed two

runs and struck out nine in 6 1-3 innings.

He has gone 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in four games – two starts –

against Detroit.

The Tigers are trying to win consecutive games for just the

second time since a five-game winning streak July 5-10. They are

6-20 since and have fallen out of the Central race.

Detroit is coming off a 9-4 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday,

ending a four-game slide in which it scored eight runs.

The Tigers will give the ball Armando Galarraga (3-4, 4.32), who

has gone 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA in his last eight starts.

The right-hander allowed four runs and walked five in 7 2-3

innings of a 4-1 loss to Chicago on Wednesday. Manager Jim Leyland

feels that a lack of confidence is playing a part in Galarraga’s

troubles.

“I think Galarraga is a perfect example of a guy that his stuff

is better than he trusts at times,” Leyland told the team’s

official website. “And I think when he learns to trust his stuff a

little bit more, he’ll be even better. And I think with him, the

more he starts to believe in his stuff, the better he’ll be. If he

doesn’t, he’s going to have problems.”

Galarraga has gone 1-0 with a 6.35 ERA in three starts against

the Rays. He lasted 2 1-3 innings in his most recent matchup with

them Sept. 5, surrendering six runs and walking three in an 8-6

win.