The Orioles and Rays battle for A.L. East supremacy for the second time this season. After a hot start, Baltimore is looking more and more like the team everyone expected them to be, but Buck Showalter still has faith.
This is the O’s first down stretch, where they have lost three-straight series for the first time all season. The O’s have been the pleasant surprise of 2012, so do not expect them to bow out yet.
Adam Jones has still been on fire since receiving his 6-year, $85.5 million dollar contract last Sunday. He is hitting .304 in May with 10 homers, and had a 20 game hit streak.
Game 1: Friday June 1st, 7:10 PM – Wei-Yin Chen (4-1) vs. David Price (6-3)
Chen comes in surprising spectators. The 26 year old rookie out of Taiwan has been fantastic for the Orioles with a 3.31 ERA in 54.1 innings pitched. This will be the first time Chen gets to face the Rays.
2010 Cy Young winner David Price comes in as one of the top pitchers in baseball, with a 2.71 ERA on the season with 57 strikeouts. This will be his first meeting with the O’s of the season, who he is 4-2 against since 2009. Baltimore couldn’t do much against Price in 2011; they batted a combined .210 and hit only two home runs.
Game 2: Saturday June 2nd, 4:10 PM – Brian Matusz (4-5) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (4-1)
The inconsistent Brian Matusz takes the hill for the Birds in game two. Matusz appeared to regain confidence, winning four of his six starts in May, even receiving a standing ovation from the crowd at Camden on May 22nd, after he allowed two hits over 6.1 against the Red Sox. But after giving up three earned — two of which were homers — in his last start against K.C., many fans wonder if Matusz is going to fall in to another slump.
The 2011 ROY Jeremy Hellickson is trying to find himself as well. Just like Matusz, Hellickson has shown signs of brilliance at some times, and overall unpredictability at others. Hellickson comes in to the meeting with a 2.86 ERA in 2012 with opponents only hitting .238 against him. The Orioles didn’t get that memo on May 11th, when they lit up the young Ray to pick up a 4-3 win. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis both went yard on the 25 year old.
Game 3: Sunday June 3rd, 1:40 PM- TBA vs. Matt Moore (1-5)
The scheduled starter for the Orioles, Tommy Hunter, was sent to Triple-A Norfolk after his last outing against the Blue Jays where he allowed nine hits and six runs, five earned in just three innings
Moore has been no stud himself. He comes in with a 4.76 ERA. The 22 year old has thrown over 100 pitches in all but one of his starts, which have totaled 56.2 innings. Adam Jones took advantage of Moore’s inconsistencies back on May 12th, when he went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs.
- Chris Davis is .286 lifetime against the Rays
- This series begins a tough stretch for Baltimore (@ TB, @ Boston, vs. Philadelphia.)
- Jim Johnson is second in the majors in saves (16) behind only Chris Perez of Cleveland (17.)