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Game Preview; Sunday (9/18) vs. Baltimore


Rays (61-88) at Baltimore (70-77)
1:35; Oriole Park at Camden Yards
NO TV; Radio: Rays Radio/1250 AM

Well, the stats show this year that the Rays are in the upper tier of AL offenses, along with teams like New York, Boston, and Texas. But to score only one run, which was a home run mind you, at that launchpad against that journeyman pitcher is, to say the least, concerning. Granted, Bruce Chen may not be as bad as I say, but the O's staff is not the best you can face, and even if Chen is good, two or three runs off of him is not that hard, especially at the park where pop flies turn into home runs. On the bright side, Carl Crawford got his power plug on, and Casey "Mac" Fossum pitched very well, so at the same time, we did have our bright spots. But to score just one run is concerning, and the Rays need, just need to score more, because when you score one run at Camden Yards, the other team is likely to put up a lot more. I did not happen this time, but the Rays will not win games in Baltimore by scoring just one run. That being said, Casey Fossum has pitched very well this month, and hopefully he can cancel out his awful August. He takes the mound next time against Anaheim, so he should be helped a bit, but it is good to see Mac get back inot a groove. It's just a shame the offense couldn't do the same.

PITCHING MATCHUP:
Rays-RH Doug Waechter (5-10, 5.23)
BAL-RH Daniel Cabrera (10-11, 4.69)

BREAKDOWN: Well, despite their horrible offensive output yesterday, the Rays can still win the series today by taking one in Baltimore. For them to win a series after being 0-6 in Camden Yards is great, and hopefully Doug Waechter can retire a batter. Waechter has been better on the road this year, putting up a 4.75 ERA, but at Camden Yards, that is not likely to matter, though yesterday defied common logic in that department. Waechter had his worst start as a pro last time out Tuesday against the Yankees. In an eventual 17-3 loss, Waechter was pulled without retiring a batter in the first, giving up five runs, but only three earned, on five hits. His ERA for the game? 27.00. He has made one start previous to this against the Orioles, going six innings and picking up the loss by giving up four runs on eight hits in the game. He has not faced the O's at home, and that was his only appearence of the year against Baltimore.

Taking the mound for the O's is Daniel Cabrera. He has pitched very well as of late, giving up just two runs in his last 12.2 innings, lowering his ERA 31 points. Both of those runs came last time out against the Rangers, when he gave up two runs in 5.2 innings. He gave up six hits, and struck out seven while walking two. He hasn't faced the Devil Rays since April, when he went five innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits. Cabrera has had a horribly inconsistent, Victor Zambrano-type season, and needs one win to hit a .500 record. Let's put that on hold today.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The bottom line is that we need to prove we can win at Cmaden Yards. If we win, we finish the year at 2-7 in Baltimore. That is bad, but for some reason, 1-8 sounds a lot worse. Maybe a series win can compensate for our poor performance. The Rays are 5-9 against the O's this year, and with four games remaining against the O's, including a three game set at the Trop where the Rays are 4-2, we still have a chance to win the series. But that means that Doug Waechter needs to keep the ball down, and the home run pitcher is going to be pressed to do that at Launchpad Park. Joey Gathright certainly like to see Cabrera, as he is hitting .667 against the O's righty. Could he hit his first major league home run today? I'll leave it to Algebra to solve for x in that equation: Cabrera+home run park=x

GO RAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!