Series preview: O's at Tampa

Game Preview
Orioles (48-70) at Tampa Bay (63-54)

After winning just two of seven games on a homestand that ended with Monday's loss to the Angels, the Orioles begin a nine-game road trip tonight at Tampa Bay.

After three games with the Rays, the road trip takes to the Orioles on to Chicago and Minnesota.

The O's are just 18-39 on the road this season and are just 3-18 on the road vs. the AL East.

Series Pitching Matchups;
Mon, 7:08p - Jason Berken (2-10, 6.63) v. David Price (5-5, 5.12)
Tues, 7:08p - Chris Tillman (1-0, 4.88) v. Jeff Niemann (10-5, 3.86)
Wed, 7:08p - Brian Matusz (1-2, 6.75) v. James Shields (7-9, 3.88)

O's pitching has allowed 25ER the last two games and the club's team ERA is 6.84 over the past eight games.

While the Orioles gave up 36 runs vs. the Angels in the four-game series, the Birds offense scored 30 runs.

The Orioles had 21 doubles, four triples and six homers in the series for a total of 31 extra-base hits.

The Birds have lost three straight, seven of nine and 20 of the last 27 games.

The Rays recently lost five straight, but got back in the win column with back-to-back wins over Toronto on Saturday and Sunday.

Tampa is in third place in the AL East, 10 games behind New York. Tampa is third in the wild card race, 4 games behind Texas.

Since May 29th, Tampa is 40-26, but has lost five games on first place in that time. The Rays have one of baseball's best home records at 38-19.

Tampa is 15-13 in the second-half and is 25-17 on the year vs. AL East clubs.

Gregg Zaun is 6 for 16 since his trade to Tampa from the Orioles with two homers and 6 RBI. He delivered a pinch-hit Grand Slam in the 8th inning Saturday to beat Toronto.

The Rays lead the Majors in stolen bases and are third in runs and fourth in homers and slugging.

The O's and Tampa meet tonight for the first time since May 13th. After losing 15 of 18 vs. the Rays in 2008, the Orioles are 4-3 vs. Tampa this season. The O's lead the all-time series, 100 wins to 93.

Nick the Stick - Nick Markakis takes a hot bat into the Tampa series. Over the last two games he is 4 for 10 with two homers and 4 RBI. He now has a ten-game hitting streak during which he is batting .378-2-8 with six doubles. He has five multi-hit games over his last six contests, going 12 for 28 in that stretch.

Markakis has raised his average from .298 to .305 during his batting streak.

He has now reached base in 37 straight games, the longest current streak in the Majors.

O's hitters, 2009 vs. Tampa:
Andino: 1-7/0/0
Izturis: 7-18/0/1
Jones: 11-26/2/6 with 4 doubles
Markakis: 8-30/1/5
Moeller: 1-7/0/0
Mora: 6-26/1/9
Pie: 2-11/1/2
Reimold: 0-0
Roberts: 9-28/3/7 with 9 runs
Scott: 2-13/0/1
Wigginton: 7-19/1/2

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