The Tampa Bay Rays will set a franchise record for homers in a single season with their next blast and can keep their faint wild-card hopes alive when they visit the Baltimore Orioles for the third of a four-game series Saturday. The Rays belted a pair of homers to push their total to 216 - tying last year’s team - in Friday’s 8-3 victory over Baltimore to remain five games behind Minnesota for the American League’s second wild-card.
Wilson Ramos belted a grand slam and Evan Longoria hit only his second homer since Aug. 1 on Friday as Tampa Bay evened the season series (7-7) with five more games left between the American League East rivals over the final nine days of the campaign. Jake Odorizzi hopes to continue his strong finish to the season when he takes the mound for the Rays and Baltimore counters with Jeremy Hellickson, who makes his first appearance against his former team. The Orioles are close to playoff elimination after losing for the 13th time in 16 contests Friday, but rookie Trey Mancini extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games. Baltimore’s Tim Beckham notched a pair of hits in his first game against the team that drafted him first overall and traded him on July 31, although he is just 15-for-81 in September.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), MASN2 (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Jake Odorizzi (9-8, 4.46 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Jeremy Hellickson (8-10, 5.47)
Odorizzi has won three of his past four outings, including when he limited Boston to two runs on one hit and a pair of walks over six innings Sunday. The 27-year-old Illinois native can reach double-digit victories for the third time in four years but has struggled with the home-run ball this season as opponents have launched a career-high 30 against him. Manny Machado is 11-for-38 with four homers and 11 RBIs versus Odorizzi, who is 1-0 with a 6.10 ERA against the Orioles in 2017.
Hellickson is winless in four straight games while allowing 21 runs (19 earned) over 16 total innings and has surrendered a career-high 34 homers overall - 12 in the past seven contests. The 30-year-old Iowa native was 40-36 from 2010-2014 with the Rays and is 2-5 with a 7.29 ERA in nine starts with the Orioles since being acquired from Philadelphia on July 28. Lucas Duda is 7-for-14 with a pair of homers against Hellickson, who is 1-1 with an 8.20 ERA at Camden Yards in 2017.
1. Baltimore’s rookie OF Austin Hays is 10-for-27 with six RBIs over his last seven games after starting his career 0-for-7.
2. Tampa Bay RHP Alex Colome boasts a major league-high 45 saves, tied with Rafael Soriano (2010) for second in a single season in franchise history.
3. Orioles CF Adam Jones had a pair of hits Friday to pass Brady Anderson (1,614) and move into fourth place on the team’s all-time list with 1,615.
PREDICTION: Rays 8, Orioles 7