It would be considered a surprise if either the Baltimore Orioles or Tampa Bay Rays catch the New York Yankees in the American League East, but both teams are very much in the wild card race. The Orioles and Rays, who are 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Yankees, will try to get the upper hand on each other when they meet in a three-game series beginning Friday in Florida. Tampa Bay, which leads the season series 5-4, took two of three at Baltimore on July 24-26. The Orioles just took two of three at Yankee Stadium and have won three of their last four; the Rays have won four of their last five, including two of three at red-hot Oakland earlier this week.
Baltimore and Tampa Bay are tied with Detroit, 1 1/2 games behind Los Angeles in the wild card race. The Rays, who have the same record (55-50) as they did at this point last season before rallying to make the playoffs, send Matt Moore to the mound. The rookie left-hander is 6-2 with a 3.32 ERA in his last 10 starts, a span which began with a victory over the Orioles on June 3. He will oppose Baltimore’s Tommy Hunter, who pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief Wednesday in the Orioles’ 12-3 loss.
Orioles Rays Betting
When: 7:10 PM ET, Friday, August 3, 2012
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN (Baltimore), Sun Sports (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Tommy Hunter (4-6, 5.68 ERA) vs. Rays LH Matt Moore (7-7, 4.01)
Hunter’s last start resulted in a 6-1 loss to Oakland on Saturday when he allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings. He recorded quality starts in his previous two outings, including a 2-1 victory at Minnesota three starts back. Hunter is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in four starts against the Rays. The Tampa Bay roster is hitting .245 against him. Carlos Pena is 3-for-10 with two homers, a double and four RBIs.
Moore has alternated wins and losses in his last five starts, including a 3-0 victory at the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday when he struck out six and allowed four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He is 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his last three outings. Moore is 1-1 against Baltimore this season with a 1.74 ERA. He allowed six runs in 10 1/3 innings, but only two were earned. The Orioles’ roster is hitting .293 against Moore, with Matt Wieters 3-for-4 with two homers and two walks.
1. Baltimore’s Nick Markakis was 7-for-14 with a homer, double and four RBIs in the New York series.
2. Tampa Bay comes home after a 6-3 road trip in which they won each series.
3. The Rays lead the majors in ERA (2.45) and opponents’ batting average (.200) since the All-Star break.