Opposite dugout: Rays hitters hope to heat up again after going cold in Pittsburgh

rays-logo.jpgManager: Kevin Cash (3rd year)

Record: 41-40

Last 10 games: 5-5

Who to watch: 1B Logan Morrison (22 HR, 54 RBIs), CF Mallex Smith (9 stolen bases), OF/DH Corey Dickerson (.330/.371/.577), RF Steven Souza Jr. (14 HR, 49 RBIs), RHP Jacob Faria (3-0, 2.10 ERA, 0.974 WHIP), Alex Colomé (20 saves)

Season series vs. Orioles: 1-2

Pitching probables:

June 30: RHP Jacob Faria vs. RHP Dylan Bundy, 7:05 p.m., MASN
July 1: RHP Jake Odorizzi vs. RHP Chris Tillman, 4:05 p.m., MASN
July 2: RHP Alex Cobb vs. RHP Kevin Gausman, 1:35 p.m., MASN

Inside the Rays:

Two three-game series with the Orioles are bookending the Rays' three days in Pittsburgh this week. The O's might consider themselves fortunate to have taken two games of the three in St. Petersburg last weekend, given that the Rays scored a total of 23 runs on 31 hits over the series. While in the Steel City, however, Tampa Bay's bats cooled, and the Rays scored just six runs while dropping two of three to the Pirates.

Steven Souza Jr. (.260/.366/.473) has hit safely in all but 4 of his last 15 games, collecting three homers and two doubles in that span. Corey Dickerson (.330/.371/.577) remains near the top in batting average in the American League. In his last nine games, Dickerson has gone 15-for-40 (.375). In the three games against the Birds last weekend, Dickerson went 5-for-12 with a home run. Mallex Smith (.311/.398/.389), summoned from the minors when Kevin Kiermeier went down with a hip injury on June 8, still has few enough at-bats for his average to swing dramatically from one game to the next (Smith was at .350 when the Orioles left Florida, but he went 0-fer all three games in Pittsburgh, dropping his average to .311). But he's swiped nine bags already in his short stay with the big club, and the 24-year-old has turned some heads. Logan Morrison (.254/.357/.564), the Rays' home run leader, has a 10-game hit streak going as the team comes to Baltimore. He homered and tripled in the Rays' 15-5 rout of the O's last Friday.

Young Jacob Faria (3-0, 2.10 ERA), who starts the opener tonight, continues to impress since the Rays brought him up to take the rotation spot of the injured Matt Andriese. Last Saturday at Tropicana Field, in a game the Orioles eventually won, Faria kept the Rays in it for the six innings he pitched, giving up just three runs on five hits while striking out seven. Since May 22, the Rays have lost every game but one in which Saturday's starter, Jake Odorizzi (4-3, 4.00 ERA), has pitched. He took the loss in just one of those, though, a 2 1/3-inning appearance June 2 in Seattle in which he walked three and gave up two home runs. He went 5 1/3 against the Orioles last Sunday, surrendering four runs on seven hits. This Sunday, Alex Cobb (6-5, 3.73 ERA) gets the start. Cobb has earned victories in two of his last four starts. He got no justice in Pittsburgh, however. The Rays won Tuesday, but Cobb did not figure in the decision after shutting out the Pirates for eight innings in which he gave up only two hits and one walk.

Rays closer Alex Colomé has had a rough ride his past couple of outings. Last Saturday he took a loss at home after coming on against the O's in the ninth inning with the score tied 5-5 and giving up three runs on two walks and two hits. He won the series opener in Pittsburgh, but only after blowing a save.

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