The Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles are tied for first place in the American League East, though neither team has been impressive of late. The Rays took the series opener on Friday to mark their lone win in the last five games while the Orioles won Saturday’s contest, snapping a six-game skid. Each club will be looking to regain sole possession of first in Sunday’s rubber match while holding off the rest of the division.
The combined struggles of the Rays and the Orioles have allowed the rest of the division to sneak back into the race, with the last-place Toronto Blue Jays only three games back. Tampa Bay ranks 13th in the AL in fielding percentage and was let down by its defense in Saturday’s 2-1 setback, with an unearned run proving to be the difference. The Orioles, who are the lone team below the Rays in fielding, have struggled with the bats of late, averaging 2.3 runs over the last seven games.
Orioles Rays Betting
When: 1:40 PM ET, Sunday, June 3, 2012
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
TV: 1:40 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Baltimore), SUN (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Jake Arrieta (2-6, 5.37 ERA) vs. Rays LH Matt Moore (1-5, 4.76 ERA)
Arrieta has been knocked around for at least four earned runs in seven of his last 10 starts and has failed to make it through six innings in three of the last four. The 26-year old had his worst start against Tampa Bay on May 13, yielding seven runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 frames to suffer the loss. Arrieta is 2-2 with a 5.46 ERA in five career starts against the Rays.
Moore has taken the loss in four of his last five turns despite allowing three earned runs or less in each of his last four. The 22-year old struck out 10 and surrendered two runs on four hits in seven innings at Chicago on Monday, only to absorb the loss in a 2-1 final. Moore lasted only 4 1/3 innings at Baltimore on May 12, giving up four runs – one earned – on four hits while striking out six.
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1. Searching for outfield production from someone besides Adam Jones, the Orioles acquired 29-year old 1B/OF Steve Pearce on Saturday from the New York Yankees.
2. Tampa Bay has averaged 2.4 runs in its last five games and started only one player on Saturday (B.J. Upton) with a batting average better than .252.
3. Baltimore OF Endy Chavez hit his first homer of the season on Saturday, going 1-for-4 to lift his average to .129.