The Tampa Bay Rays are barely hanging on in the playoff race.
A lack of success against the AL-worst Baltimore Orioles is one reason they’ve got so much ground to make up.
A seventh loss in eight home games against the Orioles would be almost hard to believe, but that’s what the Rays will try to avoid Saturday night when they continue this three-game series.
With 13 remaining games against Boston and the Yankees, Tampa Bay (74-63) will at least have a chance to make up ground on the top teams in the AL East. However, those games could be rendered meaningless if the Rays continue to struggle against the Orioles (55-81), who own the majors’ second-worst record.
With David Price(notes) holding a 2-0 lead with 11 strikeouts in the seventh Friday, Tampa Bay appeared on its way to a series-opening win. But that inning proved to be the undoing of the Rays’ ace, who gave up three hits and two walks as the Orioles scored three times and held on for a 3-2 victory.
The win was Baltimore’s seventh in 13 meetings this season with Tampa Bay and its sixth in seven road matchups.
Owning the majors’ worst ERA hasn’t affected Orioles pitchers at Tropicana Field, where they’ve compiled a 1.60 ERA and limited the Rays to a .168 average.
“We’ve just had a hard time getting the big hit when we’ve needed to,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
The Orioles have given up six runs during five consecutive road wins.
After allowing four runs or more in three consecutive outings, the right-hander has given up four runs and seven hits over 15 innings in his past two. He was solid against the Yankees on Monday, yielding three runs in seven innings of a 3-2 loss.
Simon has made five relief appearances versus Tampa Bay and lost his only start against the Rays on Sept. 23, 2008.
Wade Davis(notes) (8-8, 4.52) takes the mound for Tampa Bay against a very familiar opponent. The right-hander overpowered the Orioles the first three times he faced them, going 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA. However, he is 2-3 with a 5.82 ERA in the past six meetings with each of those losses - two this season - coming at home.
Davis was tagged for six runs and nine hits over 4 1-3 innings in a 7-3 loss at Toronto on Monday after the Rays had won his previous five starts.