Opposite dugout: Healing Rays still fading

rays-logo.jpgManager: Kevin Cash (2nd season)

Record: 34-54

Last 10 games: 1-9

Who to watch: 3B Evan Longoria (.289/.337/.526 with 19 HR, 47 RBIs), 2B Logan Forsythe (.285 with 8 HR, 21 RBIs), SS Brad Miller (14 HR, 32 RBIs), LHP Matt Moore (5-6, 4.46 ERA), RHP Alex Colome (1.69 ERA with 19 saves)

Season series vs. Orioles: 2-7

Pitching probables:

July 15: RHP Yovani Gallardo vs. RHP Chris Archer, 7:10 p.m., MASN2
July 16: RHP Chris Tillman vs. LHP Matt Moore, 6:10 p.m., MASN2
July 17: TBA vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi, 1:10 p.m., MASN2

Inside the Rays:

The All-Star break is a time best served for teams to regroup and get healthy, and the Rays might've be the team that needed it the most. To go along with a horrendous end to the first half of the season in which the Rays won just three of their final 22 games, Kevin Cash's club is still trying to recover from multiple injuries that resulted in disabled list trips for a good number of everyday players. If Cash were playing "Pokémon GO," he would need to be collecting and using a lot of potion and revive items.

One player who no longer needs healing is right fielder Steven Souza Jr., who hasn't seen the Orioles since late April and came off the disabled list on July 2 recovering from a strained left hip. Souza probably wishes the break didn't some so soon after his return to the lineup while trying to re-find his rhythm. In the eight games he played in since missing 17, he hit just .222 with a .250 on-base percentage, collecting just six hits (one extra-base) and two RBIs while striking out 10 times.

Meanwhile, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (fractured right hand) and former Oriole Steve Pearce (strained hamstring) have aimed for a return after the All-Star break, but a quick Twitter search doesn't show any certain timetable for their returns. Although, it does look like the two outfielders took live batting practice earlier this week.

Of the players the Orioles will for sure see this weekend, third baseman Evan Longoria is continuing his strong season, slashing .289/.337/.526 with 19 home runs and 47 RBIs. Second baseman Logan Forsythe is hitting .285 and adding 21 RBIs to the mix, while first baseman Logan Morrison has hit 10 homers and 31 RBIs. Shortstop Brad Miller and outfielder Corey Dickerson have combined for 27 longballs and 67 RBIs.

On the mound, the Rays are trotting out right-hander Chris Archer to open the second half. Archer is struggling mightily to follow up his first All-Star season in which he finished fifth in American League Cy Young Award voting by going just 4-12 with a 4.66 ERA this season. He went 0-5 over his last six first-half starts, with the Rays losing all six games. Although he only gave up four or more runs three times during that stretch, the Rays offense only scored three or more runs twice. Archer is 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA against in two starts against the Orioles this season, but also hasn't faced the Birds since April.

Matt Moore will be the only left-hander to start for the Rays this weekend. In terms of a consistent starter, Moore has been Tampa Bay's best option this year at 5-6 with a 4.46 ERA. But he went 0-2 with a 5.27 ERA in his two starts against the Birds in the first half. And at 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA, Jake Odorizzi is the Rays' second-best starter. But his limited success has not come against the O's either, going 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in three starts against Baltimore.

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