The Tampa Bay Rays look to follow up their offensive onslaught in the series opener and earn their sixth win in seven games when they host the struggling Baltimore Orioles on Saturday afternoon. Logan Morrison belted his team-leading 22nd homer and knocked in three runs while Evan Longoria along with newly-recalled Shane Peterson had four RBIs apiece in Tampa Bay’s 15-5 rout Friday.
The Rays have posted 44 runs in their last six games and are expected to add slugging catcher Wilson Ramos to the lineup as early as Saturday after he recovered from knee surgery, and reliever Brad Boxberger (back) could also be activated this weekend. Jacob Faria will go for his fourth straight victory to open his major-league career for Tampa Bay and he will oppose fellow right-hander Dylan Bundy, who has been Baltimore’s best starter despite pitching in some bad luck. Adam Jones returned after being rested Thursday to register three hits Friday for the Orioles and is 10-for-23 during a six-game hitting streak while teammate Manny Machado went 0-for-5 in the series opener after recording nine RBIs in his previous seven contests. Baltimore has dropped three straight games and allowed at least five runs in 20 consecutive contests, tying the major-league record set by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Dylan Bundy (7-6, 3.72 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jacob Faria (3-0, 1.37)
Bundy took the loss in five of his last seven starts, although the Orioles provided him nine runs total in the setbacks and he posted two quality starts without gaining a victory. The 24-year-old Tulsa native has given up at least one homer in nine straight starts and 11 in that stretch after surrendering two in his first six outings. Tim Beckham is 2-for-3 with two homers versus Bundy, who allowed two runs over 6 1/3 innings of a no-decision against the Rays on April 26.
Faria is the fifth player in recorded major-league history to win his first three starts while permitting one run or fewer and completing at least six innings in each outing. The 23-year-old Californian yielded one first-inning run on six hits total over a career-high seven innings at Detroit on Sunday. Faria, who was 6-1 in 11 starts before being recalled, has increased his pitch total from 95 to 102 to 110 in his starts with the Rays and is holding opponents to a .208 batting average.
1. The Rays placed OF Colby Rasmus (hip) on the 10-day disabled list and Peterson, who belted a two-run homer Friday, took his place.
2. Baltimore 2B Jonathan Schoop is 7-for-16 during a four-game hitting streak and has a team-best 21 hits with runners in scoring position this year.
3. Tampa Bay C Derek Norris – who went 3-for-3, including a two-run homer, Friday – is expected to be designated for assignment to make room for Ramos.
PREDICTION: Rays 5, Orioles 2