Opposite dugout: Rays hoping to buck recent trend vs. O's

Manager: Kevin Cash (2nd season)


Record: 62-83

Last 10 games: 4-6

Who to watch: 2B Logan Forsythe (.279 average with 19 HR, 50 RBIs); 3B Evan Longoria (32 HR, 155 hits); SS Brad Miller (72 RBIs, 122 hits); RHP Jake Odorizzi (9-6, 3.81 ERA); RHP Chris Archer (8-18 with 217 strikeouts); RHP Alex Colome (2.01 ERA with 32 saves).

Season series vs. Orioles: 4-11

Pitching probables:

September 15: LHP Blake Snell vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo, 7:05 p.m., MASN
September 16: RHP Chris Archer vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, 7:05 p.m., MASN
September 17: RHP Matt Andriese vs. RHP Chris Tillman, 7:05 p.m., MASN
September 18: RHP Jake Odorizzi vs. TBD, 1:35 p.m., MASN

Inside the Rays:

Remember when the Rays were that small-market team with a miniscule payroll that seemed to always defy expectations and muscle their way into the postseason? Between 2008-2013, the scrappy boys from Tampa Bay saw steady success, including two division titles and an American League pennant.

Flash forward to this season, and you've still got a small-market team with a miniscule payroll. The success, however, has disappeared. With less than a month remaining on the year, the Rays are headed for the bottom spot in the AL East. It'll be their first fifth-place finish since 2007, but will mark their third straight season missing the playoffs. That's not to say the Rays have packed it in, mind you. Far from it. Tampa Bay still presents a tough obstacle, particularly after taking two of three north of the border against the Blue Jays.

The offense is led by infielders Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria. After tallying just 67 hits during all of 2014, Forsythe has taken leaps and bounds over the past two seasons, amassing 274 hits during that stretch, including 122 this year. He leads the team with a .277 average and is actually hitting for a higher average on the road (.285) than at home (.271). Longoria, meanwhile, hasn't slowed down yet. He's only 30 years old, but already in his ninth season, it seems like he's been around for much longer. The Rays third baseman has 86 RBIs and is just one home run shy of tying his single-season high of 33.

Blake Snell will make his first career start against the Orioles in tonight's series opener. His numbers are what one might expect from a rookie cutting his teeth in a tough AL East. Snell is 5-8 on the year with a 3.62 ERA, but like most pitchers, his success in the win-loss department is largely dependent on his team's ability to provide run support. The right-hander is 0-6 when the Rays score two runs or fewer and a cool 4-0 with at least six runs of support. Strikeout aficionado Chris Archer starts Friday for the Rays. Heading into this series, Archer leads the American League with 217 strikeouts, but his 18 losses on the season are easily a career high. That's not to say Archer hasn't been effective, however, particularly as of late. In his last five starts, Archer has four quality starts, despite just two wins during that stretch. Right-hander Matt Andriese is still searching for his first win against the Orioles this season, though it's been a rough second half for the 27-year-old. After going 6-2 prior to the All-Star break, Andriese is just 1-5 since, and has a 9.64 ERA in his last three starts. Veteran Jake Odorizzi starts in Sunday's series finale. This guy is certainly no stranger to the Orioles, having made five starts against them this year already. His results against the Birds have been a bit inconsistent, to say the least. In his five outings vs. the Orioles, Odorizzi has allowed four, one, five, two and seven earned runs in those starts, respectively.

Alex Colome is enjoying his first season as the Rays closer. He's just 1-4 on the year, but has amassed 32 saves and earned his first All-Star selection this summer. Colome helped close the door on a Rays victory against the Orioles back on September 7 and has yet to allow a run in September.

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