Major League Baseball
Preview
Tampa Bay at Baltimore
When: 7:05 PM ET, Monday, August 31, 2015
Where: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

Two struggling teams trying to stay relevant in the American League playoff race meet when the Tampa Bay Rays visit the Baltimore Orioles on Monday to begin a three-game series. The Rays beat Kansas City 3-2 on Sunday for their second victory in the last seven contests to remain 4 ½ games behind Texas for the second wild card and Baltimore is 5 ½ back after losing 10 of its last 11.

The Orioles managed only four runs while getting swept in three games at Texas over the weekend, but will be happy to be home where they are 37-25 as opposed to 26-42 on the road. Chris Davis has hit only one of his 35 homers in the last 15 games for Baltimore, which is 7-5 against Tampa Bay in 2015. The Rays send ace Chris Archer to the mound to start a critical nine-game road trip against left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. Kevin Kiermaier has homered in back-to-back games for the Rays, going 11-for-23 over his last seven contests.

TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), MASN (Baltimore)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays RH Chris Archer (11-10, 2.88 ERA) vs. Orioles LH Wei-Yin Chen (8-6, 3.17)

Archer pitched a one-hit shutout at Houston in his last road start on Aug. 20 and is 8-3 with a 2.67 ERA away from home on the season. The 26-year-old has posted 217 strikeouts – fifth all-time in a single season for the franchise – including 64 over his past seven starts. Steve Pearce is 3-for-8 with a pair of homers and Davis 4-for-10 with a blast against Archer, who is 1-4 (0-2 in 2015) with a 5.06 ERA in eight career appearances (seven starts) versus Baltimore.

Chen is 4-0 in his last seven starts, beginning with 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball against Tampa Bay on July 26 in a 5-2 victory. The Taiwan native, who boasts 125 strikeouts and 35 walks in 156 innings, is 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA in four starts versus the Rays in 2015 and holds a 3.42 ERA in 17 career outings against them. Logan Forsythe (7-for-22) has homered three times while Daniel Nava (7-for-16) and Kiermaier (4-for-9) have each gone deep once versus Chen.

WALK-OFFS

1. Baltimore 3B Manny Machado needs one double to reach 100 in his career at age 23, but is 7-for-40 against Rays pitching this year.

2. Tampa Bay RHP Brad Boxberger took over the top spot in the AL Sunday with his 32nd save and has allowed one hit in 4 2/3 scoreless innings against Baltimore in 2015 with eight strikeouts.

3. Orioles rookie OF Dariel Alvarez from Cuba went 3-for-9 in his first three major-league games over the weekend.

PREDICTION: Rays 4, Orioles 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Tampa Bay 64-66 W1 32-33 32-33 24-26 12-17 17-17 11-6
Baltimore 63-67 L4 39-26 24-41 26-24 13-17 15-18 9-8
Last Meeting
Tampa Bay Baltimore
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/26/15 BAL 5 TB 2 .250 2 .851 .286 1 .742
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Tampa Bay L. Forsythe .270 10 .871
Baltimore A. Jones .263 10 .616
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Tampa Bay S. Souza 3 4 6
Baltimore M. Machado 2 6 4
Pitching ERA Avg K
Tampa Bay 3.15 .210 107
Baltimore 2.63 .208 96
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Tampa Bay L. Forsythe .277 125 .787
Baltimore M. Machado .289 148 .851
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Tampa Bay L. Forsythe 15 55 53
Baltimore C. Davis 35 73 92
Pitching ERA Avg K
Tampa Bay 3.68 .247 1093
Baltimore 3.87 .253 975