Today’s game and a few suggestions for payroll-paring Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Orioles will close out their road trip this afternoon by facing reliever-turned-starter Sergio Romo for the second time in the series, unless he’s traded before first pitch.

The Rays keep searching for ways to save money, which usually impacts the roster. However, here are a few ideas they might want to consider:

* Get rid of the cable in both clubhouses.
* Plain M&Ms instead of peanut in the candy dispensers.
* 10-cent beer nights, where each fan must pay an additional 10 cents per beer.
* Anyone throwing out ceremonial first pitch also works first inning.
* Skybus: The official plane of the Tampa Bay Rays
* Pro scouts fired and replaced by Boy Scouts
* See if Tony Romo will pitch for free on days Sergio Romo doesn’t.
* Convince draft picks to replace signing bonus with 10-minute shopping spree at Target.
* Reduce people employed as mascot by forcing Kevin Cash to wear costume on weekends.
* Move bullpen mounds from foul territory to nearby gas station (for a fee, of course.)
* Expensive protein powders replaced by Pixy Styx.
* Convince 2008 Rays to exchange American League championship rings for Pandora charms.
* Keep telling Wilson Ramos that catching gear is for wimps.

And yet, the Rays are only two games below .500 and eight ahead of the Orioles in the AL East. Just imagine if they were really trying.

Romo threw 14 pitches in two-thirds of an inning Friday night and was charged with one run on Danny Valencia’s RBI double. He’s thrown 18, 28 and 14 pitches in his three starts, topping out at 1 1/3 innings.

The Orioles will study video of him again this morning and check who’s scheduled to work the second inning.

The offense has scored three runs in the first two games of the series and three or fewer in nine of their last 11 since a 17-1 thrashing of the Rays at Camden Yards. Manager Buck Showalter brought up the bat deficiencies yesterday while asked about Andrew Cashner.

The starter practically needs to throw a shutout to have a chance.

Thumbnail image for Gausman front grey .jpgKevin Gausman starts today after shutting out the White Sox on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings, with one walk and 10 strikeouts, and lowering his ERA from 3.88 to 3.48. He’s permitted two runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts and one run or less in three of five.

The Rays can vouch for it. They managed only two runs in 7 1/3 innings on May 11, though he also scattered 11 hits.

Right-handers are hitting .295 against Gausman and left-handers are hitting .231. He’s posted a 4.06 ERA and 1.355 WHIP in five home games and a 2.90 ERA and 1.258 WHIP in five road games, with 33 hits allowed and 29 strikeouts in 31 innings in both settings.

C.J. Cron is 5-for-14 with a double and home run against Gausman.

Tim Beckham showed up at Tropicana Field shortly before yesterday’s game and will be in the clubhouse this morning to update the media on his recovery from core muscle surgery.

Joey Rickard’s three outfield assists yesterday were the most by an Orioles outfielder since Joe Orsulak on Sept. 12, 1991 versus the Indians. Rickard caught Wilson Ramos with his foot off second base on a double, he doubled up Ramos at first base after catching Matt Duffy’s fly ball and he started a 9-4-5-2-5-1 rundown.

Manny Machado’s double was his first extra-base hit since he homered on May 21, going 21 plate appearances in between. He’s batting .338/.410/.601 against right-handers.

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