The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have struggled away from home this season.
They’ll try for a rare road victory when they begin a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.
Since the beginning of July, Tampa Bay is 1-17 on the road, with the only win coming against the New York Yankees on July 29. Only Kansas City and Pittsburgh, with 17 wins, have fewer victories on the road than the Devil Rays’ 18.
“I’m curious to see how we react,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said of this six-game road trip, which also features a series with the AL wild card-leading Chicago White Sox.
Not surprisingly, the Devil Rays have also struggled at Camden Yards. They are 2-4 there this season and have won just 12 of their last 34 games in Baltimore.
Tampa Bay (52-76) lost 4-3 to Texas on Thursday, but enters this trip on a high after taking three of four from the Rangers for its first series victory since Aug. 4-6 over Boston.
“We hung in there, and I felt us coming back,” Maddon said. “I really felt that happening again. It was there and we just (didn’t do it).”
Baltimore (56-71) enters the series having dropped three of its past four games. The Orioles lost 11-2 to Minnesota on Thursday night, falling to 3-3 on their nine-game homestand.
“We were on a roll, playing well, and we missed their best two starters,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said of the Twins. “After winning the first one, I thought we were going to at least win the series.”
Ramon Hernandez hit a two-run homer for the Orioles Thursday, his first since June 28, but that was all the offense Baltimore could manage. In their three losses on the homestand, the Orioles have scored five runs.
Jason Hammel (0-1, 10.80 ERA) makes his third major league start for the Devil Rays on Friday after being recalled from Triple-A Durham on Wednesday. The 23-year-old right-hander lost to Baltimore in his debut on April 11, allowing eight hits and seven runs in 3 1-3 innings.
He made one more start against Kansas City on April 16 before being demoted to the minors. Hammel was recalled after Tampa Bay put starter Jae Seo on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin.
Daniel Cabrera (6-8, 4.94) looks to build off his last start when he takes the mound for Baltimore. Cabrera threw a five-hit shutout against Toronto on Saturday, the second shutout of the right-hander’s career, and his first since 2004.
“A shutout, that’s the best thing a pitcher can do. That’s a perfect game for me,” Cabrera said after striking out 10 in Baltimore’s 15-0 victory. “Every pitcher wants to throw a shutout.”
It was only the second win in the last nine starts for Cabrera, who gave up five hits and seven runs in four innings of an 11-9 loss to Boston in his previous outing.
Cabrera didn’t earn a decision in Baltimore’s 7-4 loss to Tampa Bay on April 12, allowing three hits and one run in five innings while striking out 10 and walking a career-high nine.
He is 2-0 with a 3.34 ERA in six starts against the Devil Rays, with both victories coming in 2004.