Baltimore (50-57) at Tampa Bay (41-66)

Partly Cloudy Currently: St. Petersburg, FL, US
Temp: 87° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Fri Aug 3, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have a way of making even sub-par pitchers and teams look good. Daniel Cabrera and the Baltimore Orioles are perfect examples.

Cabrera looks to remain unbeaten against the Devil Rays, who will try to snap a franchise-worst seven-game losing streak against the Orioles when the teams open a three-game set Friday night.

Baltimore (50-57), which is just nine games better than major league-worst Tampa Bay (41-66), is 8-1 against the Devil Rays this season and has won seven straight in the series since a 6-4 loss April 17. The Orioles are 38-15 versus the Rays since July 15, 2004, and their pitchers have a 2.95 ERA during the seven-game win streak.

Cabrera (7-11, 5.08 ERA) has two of the Orioles’ wins during that stretch, posting a 4.15 ERA. He is 5-0 with a 3.11 ERA and a .206 opponents’ batting average in nine career starts against Tampa Bay.

The right-hander, though, is having another rough year overall, posting double-digit losses for the third straight season.

Cabrera suffered a loss in his last start, allowing four runs and six hits in six innings of a 10-6 defeat to the New York Yankees on Sunday. In his previous outing, however, Cabrera limited the Devil Rays to one hit in seven innings of a 3-0 win July 24.

That game was part of Baltimore’s season high-tying six-game winning streak in late July. The Orioles had won 12 of 16 before dropping the final two games of a series with Boston, including a 7-4 loss in the finale Thursday.

“We’re playing good baseball … we’re not giving up on ourselves,” Baltimore outfielder Jay Payton told the team’s official Web site. “You’ve got to try to take the positives out of it.”

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has won three of four following an eight-game losing streak that included three losses in Baltimore. The Devil Rays took two of three from Toronto in their most recent series, and Carl Crawford was the star despite nursing a sore right wrist.

The All-Star hit a go-ahead, two-run home run during a three-run sixth inning to lead Tampa Bay to a 6-2 victory Wednesday in the series finale. Crawford also hit a game-ending, 11th-inning homer in a 5-4 win in the opener Monday.

Crawford, who went 5-for-8 with three RBIs in the three games against the Blue Jays, was able to rest his wrist Thursday as the Devil Rays got a day off.

“As long as I don’t overswing, it doesn’t hurt,” said Crawford, who was injured diving for a ball Friday against Boston. “It doesn’t bother me when I field, but, yes, definitely glad to rest it on the day off.”

Crawford has two homers in his last three games after not hitting one in his previous 42. He is batting .343 (12-for-35) with a triple and four doubles against the Orioles this season.

Tampa Bay was also helped by solid pitching against Toronto, as it allowed a total of seven runs. The Devil Rays have given up two runs or less in three of their last four games, and will now hand the ball to team wins leader James Shields (8-6, 4.47 ERA).

The right-hander, though, has not pitched well over his last nine starts, going 2-6 with a 7.09 ERA. Shields allowed three runs and six hits while striking out seven in five innings of a 12-6 loss to Boston on Saturday night.

Shields has a 3.95 ERA in four career starts against the Orioles, but has not received a decision.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Cabrera CIN vs. J. Shields CWS
9-18 Record 12-8
5.55 ERA 3.85
166 K 184
108 BB 36
1.54 WHIP 1.11


Friday, Aug 3