I know it sounds strange, but the O’s come into their weekend series with the Rays as one of the hottest teams in baseball. They are coming off just their second road series win of the year after taking two of three from the Indians. The O’s have been doing the little things to win games under Showalter that were nowhere to be found up to this point in the season. They are getting quality starts out of their starting pitchers, hitting with runners in scoring position, fielding their positions and not making those mental mistakes that have lost them 75 games.

The Rays are coming off a series win against the Tigers after losing five in a row. They are 7-2 against the O’s this season, but haven’t faced the “new-look” O’s yet. If the O’s continue to play as well as they have been, they could knock the Rays even further behind the Yankees in the AL East standings.

Friday, August 13, 7:10pm
Orioles – Jeremy Guthrie (6-11, 4.04 ERA)
Rays – James Shields (10-10, 4.91 ERA)

Shields broke some MLB records in his last start, but they’re not quite the kind he was
aiming for. He tied a modern major league record by allowing six home runs and a
team-high nine extra base hits in just four innings of work against the Blue Jays. Shields earned the win in his last outing against the O’s going 6 1/3 innings and allowing four earned runs on eight hits. Guthrie has been dominant over his last five starts and has finally started getting rewarded for his efforts. He has averaged over seven innings a start and has allowed a total of just seven earned runs in those outings. In his last start against the White Sox, Guthrie gave up just one earned run on six hits over eight strong innings of work.

Saturday, August 14, 4:10pm
Orioles – Brian Matusz (4-11, 5.08 ERA)
Rays – Andy Sonnanstine (2-1, 3.98 ERA)

Sonnanstine made his first start in about two months last Sunday against the Blue Jays
and took the loss despite pitching relatively well. He went 5 1/3 innings allowing just
one earned run on three hits. Sonnanstine has made some spot starts this season, but has come out of the bullpen for most of the year despite being a starter for most of 2009. Matusz has delivered two quality starts in a row and has just allowed two runs in 12 innings in those outings. He didn’t receive a decision in his last start against the White Sox, but pitched well enough to win after allowing one earned run on three hits and striking out four.

Sunday, August 15, 1:40pm
Orioles – Jake Arrieta (4-3, 5.29 ERA)
Rays – Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 1.29 ERA)

The Rays’ 23-year-old right-hander picked up his second win of the season after
throwing seven scoreless innings against the Tigers last Tuesday. He only allowed three hits in the game and struck out seven without surrendering a walk. Hellickson found his way into the rotation after Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis were placed on the disabled list, and has responded well to the tune of two earned runs and six hits in 14 innings pitched. Arrieta didn’t pitch as well as he would’ve like in his last start against the Indians, but finally got some run support and earned his fourth win of the season. He allowed five earned runs on six hits in six innings of work. Arrieta faced the Rays back on July 20 and gave up five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, but didn’t receive a decision in an 11-10 O’s win.