Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Chris Archer tries to begin turning his season around Monday, when he takes the mound at home for the Tampa Bay Rays against the power-hitting Baltimore Orioles in the opener of their three-game series. The 2015 American League All-Star has dropped all four of his outings this year, including one at Baltimore in which he surrendered four solo homers as the Rays were being swept in a two-game set.
“I think the root of it is, I have to be in the strike zone more. … So it’s about getting ahead early,” Archer told the Tampa Bay Times. “And whenever I do get ahead, not trying to throw the most nasty pitch in the world because my normal is beyond average.” The Rays come home after a 3-3 road trip that ended with a five-homer performance in Sunday’s 8-1 victory over the New York Yankees to face Kevin Gausman, who is slated to come off the disabled list. The Orioles lost two of three at Kansas City over the weekend while Manny Machado saw his 16-game hitting streak end in Sunday’s 6-1 defeat. Mark Trumbo has hit safely in nine straight contests and leads Baltimore with 16 RBIs.
, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (2015: 4-7, 4.25 ERA) vs. Rays RH Chris Archer (0-4, 7.32)
Gausman (shoulder) makes his season debut after posting a 3.27 ERA and striking out 19 over 11 innings during his minor-league rehabilitation stint. The 25-year-old LSU product is 2-3 with a 6.16 ERA in nine career games – seven starts – versus Tampa Bay. Logan Forsythe (4-for-5, home run), Brandon Guyer (3-for-5, three doubles) and Evan Longoria (6-for-18, homer) all have had success against Gausman.
Archer’s best two starts have come at home, allowing three runs – two earned – in each, but the North Carolina native has permitted 30 hits in 19 2/3 innings overall. The 27-year-old has registered 29 strikeouts but also has walked 11 and surrendered six home runs. Chris Davis has hit a pair of homers and Machado is 9-for-22 with a blast versus Archer, who is 2-5 with a 5.03 ERA in 10 games – nine starts – against the Orioles.
1. Davis has hit 23 homers in 81 career games against the Rays and went deep as the Orioles scored a total of 11 runs to beat them on April 8 and 10.
2. Tampa Bay CF Kevin Kiermaier has built a six-game hitting streak, going 8-for-22 with six extra-base hits.
3. Baltimore CF Adam Jones did not play in the first series against the Rays due to injury but has recorded 134 hits in as many career games against them.
PREDICTION: Rays 4, Orioles 3