Roster move coming as Orioles ready for series against Rays

Does anyone sleep well the night before an early-morning flight? Show of hands.

The Orioles begin a three-game series tonight against the Rays at Tropicana Field, and they're prepared to make another roster move.

As I wrote yesterday, left-hander T.J. McFarland was scratched from his scheduled start with Triple-A Norfolk and likely will be recalled to aid a bullpen that's in danger of burning out from excessive use. He'd be the only true long man of the bunch.

The rotation has produced only nine quality starts in the first 29 games. Starters have failed to complete six innings in four of the last five games and 10 of 16 games.

The only question is whether the Orioles go with eight relievers and option an infielder. Otherwise, they could option Brad Brach, who's allowed three runs and five hits in 1 2/3 innings over two appearances.

The extra arm makes a lot of sense to me.

Chris Tillman is the only member of the rotation who's averaging six innings per start, but he's permitted 13 runs in 15 1/3 innings over his last three outings. His ERA has jumped from 0.84 on April 11 to 3.68, where he stands heading into tonight's game against the Rays.

Tillman finally is working on four days rest again. His last four starts have come on April 11, April 18, April 23 and May 1 - open dates and rain wreaking havoc with the schedule.

Tillman has a career 4.32 ERA in 48 starts on four days rest. It's actually 3.82 in 24 career starts on six or more days.

No matter the numbers, manager Buck Showalter wants to keep the ball in Tillman's hands. He's not a fan of creating idle time for his ace.

In his most recent start against the Pirates, Tillman threw 49 pitches in the first inning and lasted only 4 2/3 innings. He allowed seven runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings in his previous outing against the Blue Jays, serving up three home runs while again getting off to a slow start.

In three road games this season, Tillman has gone 3-0 with a 5.21 ERA in 19 innings. He's 2-6 with a 4.90 ERA and six quality starts in 11 appearances against Tampa Bay.

Tillman is 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA and three quality starts in four games at Tropicana Field.

The Rays' lineup doesn't present many favorable matchups against Tillman, though Evan Longoria is 10-for-24 with two doubles and four home runs.

Matt Joyce is 6-for-21 with a double, triple and two home runs. Ben Zobrist is 5-for-29 with a double and three home runs.

James Loney, Yunel Escobar, Desmond Jennings and Jose Molina are a combined 7-for-49 versus Tillman.

Chris Archer, who starts tonight for the Rays, allowed seven runs and 12 hits in five innings against the Orioles on April 14 at Camden Yards. He's surrendered only one home run in 35 1/3 innings this season.

Archer is 1-2 with a 5.85 ERA in four career games (three starts) against the Orioles.

Danger zone.

J.J. Hardy is 4-for-10 with two doubles versus Archer. Manny Machado and Ryan Flaherty are 3-for-7, Matt Wieters is 3-for-9 and Nelson Cruz is 2-for-6.

Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are a combined 1-for-18 with six strikeouts.

Wieters usually has his way with Rays pitching. He's a career .336/.388/.568 hitter in 75 games against Tampa Bay, with 18 doubles, 15 homers and 54 RBIs in 271 at-bats. He's batting .356/.396/.503 with seven doubles, five homers and 16 RBIs in 39 games at Tropicana Field.

Wieters went 3-for-7 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored this season in two games against the Rays in Baltimore.

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