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Preview: Orioles at Rays
GAME: Baltimore Orioles (71-74) at Tampa Bay Rays (70-75)
DATE/TIME: Thursday, September 17 – 7:10 PM EST
WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A
The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are entertaining flickering hopes at best in their bids to secure the second wild-card spot in the American League. The AL East rivals will look to improve their faint hopes at the other’s expense when they open a four-game series on Thursday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Baltimore had won six of seven before getting blitzed in a 10-1 shellacking by Boston in the finale of the three-game series on Wednesday. Chris Davis has recorded seven homers and 15 RBIs in September, but went 0-for-3 in the finale versus the Red Sox and is 3-for-15 (.200) in his career against Thursday starter Matt Moore. While the Orioles reside 5 1/2 games behind Houston in the race for the second wild card, the Rays sit 6 1/2 back of the Astros after dropping four of their last five. Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria is struggling mightily to the tune of 1-for-16 with five strikeouts in his last four contests, but is 16-for-46 in his career versus Thursday starter Chris Tillman.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Baltimore), SUN (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Chris Tillman (9-11, 5.21 ERA) vs. Rays LH Matt Moore (1-4, 8.42)
Tillman saw his winless run stretch to five starts after receiving a no-decision following Sunday’s rough outing versus Kansas City. The 27-year-old has yielded 24 runs on 33 hits in his previous 25 2/3 innings during that stretch, posting an 0-4 mark in the process. Tillman has dropped three of four decisions to Tampa Bay this season, getting shelled for six and seven runs, respectively, in the last two losses.
Moore’s pronounced struggles continued in his last outing, as he allowed a career-high four homers and eight runs total in five innings en route to a 10-4 loss to Boston on Sunday. The 26-year-old has pitched five frames or fewer in a franchise-high nine consecutive starts. Moore fell to 4-4 in his career versus Baltimore after getting blitzed for five runs on eight hits in five innings of a 5-2 setback on July 26.
1. Baltimore DH Nolan Reimold is 8-for-23 with two homers, six RBIs and seven runs scored during his six-game hitting streak.
2. Tampa Bay CF Kevin Kiermaier is 0-for-8 with three strikeouts in his last two contests.
3. Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop is 12-for-37 during his nine-game hitting streak.
PREDICTION: Orioles 4, Rays 3