Big day for the battery

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Orioles and Rays have a 4:10 p.m. start today, which means staying in bed a little longer and getting out of the ballpark a little earlier. It's a win-win situation.

I'm a huge fan of the late-afternoon games. Wish there were more of them on the schedule.

I won't suggest that jobs will be kept or lost based on today's outcome, but Brad Bergesen needs to steer away from the rocks and Jake Fox needs to guide him. Another crash won't do them any favors.

Matt Wieters is getting the day off, with Fox moving behind the plate again. The Orioles have discussed bringing up a backup catcher, which would put Fox in a utility role or cost him a roster spot.

Fox's game-calling has come into question, to put it mildly. You've heard manager Buck Showalter talk about bad "pitch sequences." You've seen instances where Fox and the starter haven't been on the same page.

Are the Orioles ready to turn it?

Chris Tillman allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings in a May 5 start in Kansas City. Jeremy Guthrie allowed six runs and 10 hits in five innings in a May 16 start in Cleveland. Fox was the catcher in both games.

I'm just giving two examples where the pitcher got the loss and Fox took his share of the blame.

Bergesen and Fox need to be in sync and turn in a crisp performance. The pressure is on both of them as roster changes are considered.

Bergesen is 0-4 with a 5.57 ERA and 1.52 WHIP this season. He's 0-5 with a 9.13 ERA lifetime against the Rays, who are batting .370 against him. He's allowed 40 hits and walked 11 in 23 2/3 career innings.

The right-hander gave up five runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings in a May 8 start against Tampa Bay, and B.J. Upton returns from his two-game suspension today. Why do I mention it? Because Upton is 7-for-13 with a double, home run and eight RBIs lifetime against Bergesen.

Swell.

Alfredo Simon and Brian Matusz could be activated before the month ends. Matusz is going into the rotation, and Simon will be considered for starting or relief duty.

It seems like I say this every time Bergesen takes the mound, but this is a big one for him. He needs a good start. And he needs Fox to guide him.

Steer away from the rocks.

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