Rays (61-87) at Baltimore (69-77)
4:35; Oriole Park at Camden Yards
NO TV; Radio: Rays Radio/1250 AM
Man, it is good to be back on the winning side of things. Let's face it, this is a slumping Orioles team, a team that has been in a steady collapse for the last three months. Nonetheless, Jorge Cantu took advantage of the Camden Yards fences, and Scott Kazmir had another great outing as the Rays romped. They had not done so previously this season, having gone 0-6 by the Harbor previous to last night's game. The Rays have little, if any, chance to catch the O's this season, and this game is useless in every sense of the word, but winning is an addictive medicine, and let's hope the Rays keep getting their prescriptions filled.
Rays-LH Casey "Mac" Fossum (8-11, 4.73)
BAL-LH Bruce Chen (12-9, 3.60)
BREAKDOWN: Well, the Rays try to clinch the series next to the Warehouse tonight, and they will send Casey "Mac" Fossum to do it. Fossum's free fall since late July has been documented very well in my posts, but could it possibly be coming to an end? You wouldn't know it is you judged by Win-Loss records, but Fossum pitched 7.1 solid innings last time out against the Blue Jays, getting a no decision for his effort in an eventual Rays win. Can Mac keep up his sub-3 ERA this month? Let's hope so.
The O's send out Bruce "Fluke" Chen to the mound to do their dirty work. Depending on how you read this year, the journeymen is either breaking out, or is just in the middle of a wild fantasy. His travels have been well documented, but the Chen train continued to steam on last time out, when he went six solid innings against the Mariners. Still, Chen has never put up numbers like this before, and while he may have clinched his spot in their '06 roation, Adam Loewen, Hayden Penn, and Garret Olsen should put on a squeeze in the coming years. He has faced the Rays twice this year, doing solid work each time.
THE BOTOOM LINE: The bottom line is that the pitching matchup consists of an Oriole that is a flukish journeyman facing a southpaw who, through two starts mind you, has gotten back on the hot track. But when I say fluke, I didn't say the fairy tale would end. Chen faces the Yanks and BoSox before season's end, and the Rays' offense is up with theirs in the top of the AL, and while I would like to say it ends right here right now, I can't guarantee that. But we can hope.