Chris Davis is looking to get right back on track again after putting up some mind-boggling numbers since these two teams met at Tropicana Field the opening week of the season. Davis (.366 7 19) wound up with 7 HR and 11 RBI but cooled down considerably against the Yankees this past weekend hitting just .273 while striking out 6 times as Baltimore dropped 2 out of 3 at the Stadium.
Tampa Bay sends Roberto Hernandez (0-2 6.08) to the hill and last time we checked the name change from Fausto Carmona failed to bring any type of reversal of fortune, especially since he is just 1-3 with an ERA north of 8 pitching at hitter friendly Camden Yards. It's not like Joe Maddon hasn't given him a chance to redeem himself since he lasted nearly 7 IP in both outings. However giving up 10 ER while not getting enough run support is cause for concern since the Rays could use a solid start beginning with this evening's series in order to turn around a 4-8 overall start.
Plus the Rays are inconsistent when it comes to production and moving across base runners consistently. Coming off getting swept in Boston, the Rays were hitting just .050 with RISP and managed only 3 runs all weekend. Since Evan Longoria opened up his first 3 games hitting .417, he's mired in a .125 slump despite being pitched in and around the strike zone. Ben Zobrist leads the team in hitting (.317) with 10 RBI but regulars including Matt Joyce, Ryan Roberts and James Loney have been struggling mightily.
The O's will counter with Jake Arrieta (0-0 7.20) who despite not recording a decision has also gotten hit pretty hard over his first few starts. He needs to watch his command control walking 6 batters over 10 IP. His last start was rusty at Fenway but has struck out 7 batters with the bullpen shutting the opposition down although not hanging around long enough to qualify or a win. Arrieta went just 3-9 last season with a 6.20 ERA, but he only issued 35 free passes, a sign that his stuff is better than 2012 despite victimized by his control. Adam Jones (.412 1 11) leads the team in hitting and runs scored but the starting pitching could be the benefit of more support from veterans like Nick Markakis and JJ Hardy who also after slow starts could be making some noise over the next few days.
We get a bargain of a price here, and given the fact that both starters tonight are hoping for nothing more than a respectable outing, it will be essential to ensure a guarantee with a shot at at least a 4th start. However, we could see more fireworks from both lineups and it will be interesting to see how long both arms stick around due to the unseasonably cool and damp weather affecting just outside the nation's capital. Best of luck however you play!