Now it may be too late. The Orioles needed to come into this stretch of six straight games and get hot and instead they've had a pair of frustrating losses against a team they are chasing in the standings. Hopes of winning four out of six are dashed - unless you think they're going to win four straight, which they have done only three times all year - and now it's a matter of holding on for dear life.
The good news for Orioles fans is that it is a favorable pitching matchup for them tonight, at least on paper. Wei-Yin Chen starts for the O's with Jeremy Hellickson starting for the Rays. Hellickson is having such a bad year with his 4.91 ERA that he would fit right in the back of the O's rotation. That's a harsh thing to say about any pitcher, but that ERA doesn't lie. Unless it does lie, because he has a 3.94 FIP, which isn't terrible.
Bad BABIP luck for Hellickson? Hitters against him have a .305 on balls in play this year, where his career mark is at .260. Given that the Rays are among the top teams by total UZR for position players, you might think that a solid defense would keep his BABIP low, especially given his 41.1% ground ball rate. This has not been the case.
Hellickson has been slightly worse on the road, with a 5.40 road ERA this season. He's given up nine home runs on the road and also at home, but he has faced fewer batters on the road. It is time to fire up and beat this guy.
Chen had a streak of six straight quality starts ended in his last start, a game in which he had no business pitching in the seventh inning. Will that be the case again tonight? If he makes it through six and he's near 100 pitches, take him out! This isn't hard!
Also, could the hitters please capitalize on some scoring chances? That would really be great.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TAMPA BAY RAYS|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Desmond Jennings - CF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Ben Zobrist - 2B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Wil Myers - DH|
|Matt Wieters - C||Yunel Escobar - SS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Sean Rodriguez - 1B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Jason Bourgeois - LF|
|Brian Roberts - 2B||Jose Lobaton - C|
|Steve Pearce - DH||Sam Fuld - RF|