Facing the team with the worst record in the majors might help Tampa Bay bounce back from a losing series against the club with the best.
The Rays hope to do so while trying for a fifth straight road win over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.
Tampa Bay (55-36) missed its chance to gain ground on AL East-leading New York by losing two of three to the Yankees over the weekend. Despite being three games behind New York, the Rays have won 11 of 15 overall and hope a visit to Baltimore will help them regain some momentum.
“I don’t get worked up over one loss, personally,” manager Joe Maddon told the Rays’ official website after Sunday’s 9-5 defeat. “You just have to move it along.”
The Rays have won nine of 11 against the Orioles (29-62), including five of six this season. Tampa Bay swept a three-game set at Baltimore from April 12-14.
After the Yankees roughed up All-Star starter David Price(notes) for seven runs in the finale, the Rays hope Wade Davis(notes) (6-9, 4.69 ERA) can continue his success against the Orioles while trying to build on his first victory since May 29.
Davis, 0-5 with a 6.32 ERA in his previous six starts, allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings of a 5-2 win over Cleveland on July 8.
The right-hander has allowed one run while striking out 13 in 16 innings to win both of his career starts against the Orioles. Davis recorded his only complete game by yielding four hits and striking out 10 in a 3-0 win at Baltimore on Sept. 17.
In his return from Triple-A Norfolk, Tillman took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and outpitched Cliff Lee(notes) in his Rangers debut, allowing one unearned run and two hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 6-1 win at Texas on July 10. The 21-year-old Tillman had an 8.40 ERA in his previous four starts this season.
“I wanted to come up here and make a statement and prove to them that I do (belong),” Tillman told the Orioles’ official website.
The right-hander is 0-1 in two starts against Tampa Bay, but he has a 2.84 ERA in those games.
Though Nick Markakis(notes) raised his average to .308 with three hits a 10-1 loss to Toronto on Sunday, Baltimore went 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position. The Orioles are hitting a major-league worst .228 in such situations this season.
“I just think we are beating a dead horse here,” interim manager Juan Samuel said. “We’ve been talking about this all year.”