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Orioles vs. Rays: Series Preview

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The Orioles head back on the road to take on the Rays, who are also left with battling for 3rd place in the division

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Story So Far:

So first thing's first - as I write this I'm on travel for work (in Houston, where meaningful baseball is actually being played) and I forgot my laptop power cord and I'm down to about 25% battery left - so let's see how quickly I can wrap this up!

The Orioles won their series with the Red Sox, though last night's 10-1 loss was pretty ugly. They have now won three straight series in a row, and look to make it a fourth against the Rays.

The Rays are 70-75, one game behind the Orioles in the division. This is the last time the Orioles have to face them this year, which means it's the last time for six months or so I'll be subjected to watching a game at Tropicana Field. Watching the games on TV are so bad, I can't even imagine what it must be like to actually go there.

Pitching Matchups:

Thursday: Chris Tillman vs. Matt Moore

Tillman has regressed back to the pitcher he was for most of the first half after it looked like he may have righted the ship. In general the Orioles' starters seem to be doing better lately, maybe that will hold up for him too.

Here's a stat that bodes well for the Orioles - Moore has gone five innings or fewer in nine straight starts. Good to know that the O's are the only team that has guys that can do that.

Friday: Wei-Yin Chen vs. Drew Smyly

Chen's probably been the most consistent starter for the O's this season. I'm going to miss him next year.

Smyly spent a good part of the season on the DL, but has been pretty good since returning. Hard to believe the Tigers gave him to get David Price and now he's on to Toronto while Smyly is under team control for the next few years.

Saturday: Kevin Gausman vs. Erasmo Ramirez

Gausman finally got his first win in more than a month the other night against the Red Sox. He still didn't get much run support, but this time it was enough. It would be nice to see him make it two in a row.

Ramirez just pitched against the Orioles on September 2nd and gave up four runs in four innings. On the other hand, he also got within a couple innings of throwing a no-hitter against the Yankees. Looking back over his starts this season though, that outing against the O's seems more typical.

Sunday: Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Jake Odorizzi

Jimenez is another starter who turned in a pretty good outing his last time out. Again, going into next year, it would be pretty nice if he could prove he can do it a couple times in a row and prove maybe he could be more like the starter he was in the first half of this season, rather than the second half.

Odorizzi is a good pitcher who's having a decent year. Most of the Orioles don't have a good record against him, but Adam Jones is 8 for 17 with a home run. He's really turned it back on lately, things are more fun when Jones is hitting.

Other Notes:

- Evan Longoria leads this team with 19 home runs. 19. The Orioles may not be having a great year, but if they were having a bad year AND a boring offense, that would be worse - right?

- Their offense really is bad too. Their 3.84 runs per game average is worst in the AL and above only the Marlins and Braves.

- It was right around this time in 2013 when the Orioles went to Tampa Bay for a four game series that resulted in a sweep by the Rays that really put the nail in the coffin of the O's that year. It still hurts.

Prediction:

Eh - I'm going to take the easy way out and say they split the series. Though a four game sweep on either side really wouldn't surprise me at this point.