The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are limping toward the finish line and simply hope to finish on a positive note when they play a three-game season-ending series in Florida beginning Friday night. The Orioles have dropped 16 of their last 20 to clinch their first losing season since 2011 and enter the last series of the season tied with Toronto in the American League East cellar.
The Rays are two games ahead in third place after riding a seven-run fifth inning to a 9-6 win at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. Corey Dickerson, Wilson Ramos and Trevor Plouffe homered as Tampa Bay snapped a three-game slide and capped off a 3-4 road trip. The first four games of the trip were in Baltimore and the divisional foes split the series to leave the season set at eight wins apiece. The Orioles, who then went to Pittsburgh and were outscored 15-4 in losing two straight, head to Tropicana Field with a 29-49 road mark.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Baltimore), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles LH Wade Miley (8-14, 5.52 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jake Odorizzi (10-8, 4.26)
Miley will be making his 200th career appearance (196th start) and is looking to match last season’s win total. He has failed to do so each of the last four times he’s taken the hill, going 0-4 with a 9.92 ERA in September. The 30-year-old owns a 2.87 ERA in five career starts at Tropicana Field, although he gave up five runs in six innings in his last visit to Tampa Bay.
Odorizzi won four of his last five starts and has a chance to match his career high for victories, first accomplished in 2014. The former first-round pick has yielded three earned runs over 22 1/3 innings this month and limited the Orioles to an unearned run and three hits across six innings his last time out. Jonathan Schoop is 10-for-27 with five extra-base hits against Odorizzi, who is 5-4 with a lifetime 4.92 ERA versus Baltimore.
1. Rays 3B Evan Longoria needs one home run to reach 20 for the fifth straight season.
2. Orioles CF Adam Jones (leg) has missed two straight games and SS Tim Beckham (hamstring) has sat out three in a row.
3. Baltimore needs to win two of the three games to take the season series for the fourth straight time.
PREDICTION: Rays 6, Orioles 4