Chris Davis and the Baltimore Orioles have padded their numbers at the expense of the Tampa Bay Rays this season. With a homer in each of the first two contests of the series, Davis looks to send the visiting Orioles to a sweep of the cellar-dwelling Rays on Wednesday afternoon as the American League East rivals conclude their set at Tropicana Field.
Davis recorded his fifth homer and 13th RBI of 2016 against Tampa Bay in Tuesday’s 11-2 rout, marking Baltimore’s fourth victory in five games overall and 11th in 14 encounters with the Rays. The 30-year-old slugger is 8-for-18 with three blasts, six RBIs and five runs scored during his five-game hitting streak and belted a first-inning grand slam against Wednesday starter Drew Smyly in a 12-5 victory at Camden Yards on June 26. Baltimore, which holds a one-game lead over Detroit for the second wild card, has recorded 30 runs over its last five games while Tampa Bay has endured troubles with its offense all season. As a result, the Rays fired hitting coach Derek Shelton and promoted Chad Mottola to the same position prior to Tuesday’s game.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Dylan Bundy (8-5, 3.47 ERA) vs. Rays LH Drew Smyly (6-11, 4.94)
Bundy made amends after allowing five runs in four innings at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 27 by scattering two hits over 5 2/3 frames in a 8-0 victory over New York six days later. The 23-year-old rookie may have won two of his last three starts, but his 11 walks leave plenty to be desired. Bundy has come a long way since he made his first major-league start at Tampa Bay on July 17, yielding three homers and four runs over 3 1/3 innings of a 5-2 setback.
Smyly may own a 4-0 mark over his last eight starts, but the 27-year-old was fortunate to walk away with a no-decision on Wednesday after permitting five runs in as many innings against Boston. Smyly continues to be plagued by the long ball as he allowed two homers for the second time in three starts and 29 in 26 outings this season. Smyly has enjoyed success in his career versus Baltimore with a 4-1 mark, however he was taken to task for eight runs on 10 hits – including three homers – in his last encounter on June 26.
1. Baltimore 3B Manny Machado belted a grand slam on Tuesday, raising his homer total to three and RBI tally to nine during his seven-game hitting streak.
2. Tampa Bay CF Kevin Kiermaier is 13-for-41 during his 10-game hitting streak.
3. Rays 2B Logan Forsythe is 10-for-20 in his last five contests.
PREDICTION: Orioles 8, Rays 3