Tampa Bay (52-80) at Baltimore (58-72)

Fair Currently: Baltimore, MD
Temp: 46° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Aug 29, 2007
  • TV: WXPX, MASN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are on one of the best runs in club history at the plate. That doesn’t bode well for Steve Trachsel.

The Devil Rays look to continue their success against Trachsel, who will try and help the Baltimore Orioles avoid their eighth straight loss when the teams play the middle game of their series Wednesday night.

Tampa Bay (52-80) scored 11 runs in the eighth inning en route to a 15-8 win over Baltimore (58-72) on Tuesday night in the series opener. The Devil Rays have scored 52 runs in their last five games, winning four.

Tampa Bay’s 11-run frame Wednesday tied a team record for runs in one inning, set May 28, 2000 against Seattle. This is just the third time in team history that the Devil Rays have reached double-digits in runs three times in five games.

A matchup against Trachsel (6-8, 4.61 ERA) could help Tampa Bay continue its momentum at the plate. Trachsel has been terrible against the Devil Rays, going 0-1 with an 11.88 ERA in two starts this season and 0-3 with a 7.17 ERA in four career starts.

Trachsel, however, is 1-1 with a 2.53 ERA in his last five starts overall.

In his last outing, the right-hander gave up two runs - one earned - and four hits in 7 1-3 innings, taking the loss as Baltimore was defeated 5-2 on Thursday by Minnesota.

If Trachsel struggles against Tampa Bay again, Baltimore will be forced to turn to its woeful bullpen. Five Orioles relievers combined to give up 12 runs in three innings Tuesday and the bullpen has a 22.29 ERA during the losing streak, Baltimore’s longest since losing nine in a row from June 9-19.

The Orioles also have been outscored 84-28 during their skid. They tried to shake up their bullpen Tuesday, designating Paul Shuey for assignment and recalling Kurt Birkins from Triple-A Norfolk.

Birkins pitched 1 1-3 innings Tuesday, allowing one run while striking out three. Shuey, who had not pitched in the majors since 2004 after undergoing hip surgery, was 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA and one save in 25 games.

“It hurt to tell (Shuey) he was done with us,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “I thought he did so much more than just suck up some innings for us when a lot or lesser guys wouldn’t have.”

Another meltdown by the Orioles’ bullpen wasted the team’s six-home run game Tuesday, tying a club record. Miguel Tejada homered twice while Nick Markakis, Aubrey Huff, Kevin Millar and Ramon Hernandez also connected.

Baltimore’s lineup will now face James Shields (10-8, 4.09 ERA), who has been one of the AL’s top pitchers over the past month. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 2.38 ERA in his last five starts.

“He’s been the same way from the very first game,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon told the Devil Rays’ official Web site. “Regardless of the competition … he has been consistent.”

Shields gave up two runs and nine hits while striking out eight in 8 1-3 innings to beat Oakland 12-2 on Friday night. He is 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in three starts against the Orioles this season, and 0-1 with a 3.97 ERA in five career starts against them.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Shields KC vs. S. Trachsel Bal
12-8 Record 7-11
3.85 ERA 4.90
184 K 56
36 BB 76
1.11 WHIP 1.59

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Aug 29