The Tampa Bay Rays hit Baltimore tonight with a record of 17-14 and that is good for second in the American League East, one game behind the Yankees. Since starting the year with a 1-8 record, Tampa is 16-6. That is the best record in the major leagues since April 11.
The Rays have the best road record in the AL at 8-4 and the best road record in the league since the start of last season at 55-38, a win percentage of .591. Tampa has scored 73 runs on the road this year, averaging 6.1 runs per game.
The Rays just got Evan Longoria back in the lineup. He was activated off the DL on Tuesday after missing 26 games with a strained oblique.
The Rays young rotation has been pitching well and Tampa's 3.32 team ERA ranks fourth best in the AL. Tampa has now gone 633 consecutive games since a pitcher 30 or older made a start and that is the longest streak since the San Francisco Giants of 1974-77.
The Orioles swept Tampa in the season-opening series by scores of 4-1, 3-1 and 5-1. It gave the O's their first 3-0 start since 1997. In the series the Orioles starters - Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman and Zach Britton - gave up just one run and six hits combined over 20 innings. Tampa batters hit just .094, 6-for-64, versus that trio in that series.
The Orioles are 7-1 in their last eight games against the Rays.
Series pitching matchups:
Tonight at 7:05: Zach Britton (5-1, 2.63) vs. James Shields (2-1, 2.14).
Saturday at 1:10: Jeremy Guthrie (1-4, 3.00) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (2-2, 4.31).
Sunday at 1:35: Brad Begesen (0-3, 4.88) vs. Wade Davis (3-2, 2.77).