Game 34: Tampa Bay Rays (15-18) vs. Baltimore Orioles (13-19)

Sonnanstine looks to put the Rays back on track. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Sonnanstine looks to put the Rays back on track. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)


The Rays will be coming off a well needed off-day as they continue this stretch of 40 games in 41 days. In the first 20 games, the Rays went 10-10 and continue to struggle to find any consistency. Tampa Bay travels to Baltimore for another two-game set before coming home for an eight game stand. These two games versus the Orioles will also be the last time the Rays play in their division for the rest of the month, and until the fifth of June when they travel back to New York. Of the 33 games played so far, 20 have been division games and the Rays have an 11-9 record. They need to turn it on now and start winning series. Last May is when Tampa Bay put it in gear and they need to repeat that as soon as possible. I know it’s still considered early, but the way to relieve pressure in September is to win games early.

What To Watch For:
Evan Longoria has absolutely owned today’s starter, Mark Hendrickson, to a tune of a .500 average in eight at bats, including two home runs. Carlos Pena is 2-6 with a homer, and Ben Zobrist is 2-3 lifetime against Hendrickson. However, Gabe Kapler has a .294 AVG in 17 AB, so it’ll be interesting to see who Joe Maddon goes with in right field.

X-Factor:
After a rough start to the season, Andy Sonnanstine has put together good starts his last two outings. That included a victory over Boston and a no decision against New York, in which he had a shutout into the eighth inning. The Rays will need him to have another good outing as they look to start climbing back into the division race. However, Sonnanstine will have his hands full as Brian Roberts, Aubrey Huff, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Gregg Zaun all sport averages over .350 lifetime off him.

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