Saturday night baseball and we will see the Baltimore Orioles take on the Tampa Bay Rays in game 2 of their 3 game series from Tropicana Field. The game is scheduled for a 7:10 (ET) pm start time and it will be televised live on MASN, WJZ (Baltimore) and Sun Sports (Tampa Bay). Currently the odds have Tampa Bay favored at -134, while Baltimore is dogs of +126. The total for the game sits at 7 runs.
Free Analysis: The Rays are a half-game behind Los Angeles in the AL wild card race and took sole possession of second in the AL East – 6 1/2 games behind New York – following Friday’s 2-0 victory over the Orioles. Baltimore is one game behind Tampa Bay. In what could be a low-scoring affair, Jeremy Hellickson takes the mound against Wei-Yin Chen as the Rays continue a three-game set with the visiting Orioles on tonight. Hellickson (6-6, 3.23 ERA) posted an 0-6 record and a 4.29 ERA over a nine-start stretch May 21-July 18 but has since picked up the pace. He gave up one run and three hits in 6 1-3 innings during a 3-1 win over Chen and the Orioles on July 24, then struck out five and walked none over six innings of two-hit ball Sunday in a 2-0 road victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Baltimore’s roster is hitting .200 against him, although Adam Jones (7-for-24) and Nick Markakis have combined for five homers. Tampa Bay's staff has posted four shutouts, a 0.75 ERA and 69 strikeouts in the last six games. Chen (9-6, 3.65) enters the weekend having gone 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break, and he was especially good his last time out. The rookie left-hander allowed one unearned run and three hits while striking out a season-high 12 in 5 2-3 innings of Sunday's 6-1 victory over Oakland, setting a single-game MLB record for strikeouts by a Taiwanese-born pitcher. While Chen has compiled a 5.84 ERA in losing both his meetings with the Rays (56-50), Hellickson has thrived in this series. The right-hander, 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA over eight career starts versus the Orioles, has gone 3-1 with a 0.88 ERA in four home outings against them. B.J. Upton hit career home run No. 100 and Desmond Jennings also went deep to help the Rays post their fifth win in six games overall. The 27-year-old Upton joins Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Cesar Cedeno, Lloyd Moseby, Eric Davis and Hanley Ramirez as the only players to hit 100 homers and steal 200 bases before age 28. B.J.'s Brother Justin (Arizona) also hit his 100th HR last night.
Free Pick: The Rays are a hot team again. After taking 2 of three at the Angles and then 2 of three at a very hot Oakland team, they came home last night and beat a struggling Orioles team 2-0. The Orioles have had problems scoring runs in this series of late as they have averaged just 2.29 rpg in the last 7 played, while being held to less than 2 runs in 4 of those games. Their task won't get much easier tonight vs Jeremy Hellickson and this Rays staff. The Rays as a team have allowed just 5 total runs in their last 6 games. In those 6 games they have thrown 4 shutouts including 2 in a row at the Angels, and we have all seen what that offense has been capable of, of late. Jeremy was part of one of those LA shutouts as he allowed just 2 hits in 6 innings vs the powerful Halos in his last start. He is 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA and an 0.60 WHIP in his last 3 starts, plus he is 3-1 in his team starts with an 0.88 ERA in his 4 career starts here vs the O's and he hasn't allowed more than 1 ER in any of those starts. While the O's have had problems scoring in this series the Rays really haven't as they have scored 4.6 rpg vs O's pitching on the year. The Rays as a team had such good pitch earlier in the year, but it's starting to break down as they have allowed a whopping 5.9 rpg in their last 10 games. Wei-Yin Chen has been solid of late with a 2-1 mark and a 2.79 ERA, but he is just 4-3 with a 4.27 ERA on the road and in 2 starts vs the Rays this year he is 0-2 with a 5.84 ERA. I expect Tampa to keep on winning vs an O's team that just can't score off of them.
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