**Join us in the Orange Crush live chat at 7:00 as the Orioles welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to town in the opener of a three-game set with Jake Arrieta and Jeremy Hellickson both in search of their eighth win of the season**
BALTIMORE — Little has made sense through the first nine games between the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays in 2011.
Though holding a 5-4 edge in the season series, Baltimore is 0-3 against Tampa Bay at Camden Yards, but has gone an impressive 5-1 against the Rays at Tropicana Field. The Orioles (29-31) will attempt to break the early trend this weekend and move closer to the .500 mark before embarking on a nine-game road trip next week.
Right-hander Jake Arrieta will take the bump in search of his eighth win despite a 4.93 earned run average and averaging 4.5 walks per nine innings this season. With a win tonight, Arrieta would become the first Oriole pitcher to record his eighth win as early as June 10 since Sidney Ponson did it on June 7, 2003.
Even with a win, let’s hope Arrieta’s career doesn’t follow the same path as Sir Sidney’s.
Opposing him will be right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who is also seeking his eighth win of the season and has pitched 14 shutout innings in two starts against the Orioles this season, both Tampa Bay victories. Something will have to give in tonight’s game as Hellickson has received the second-best run support in the American League while Arrieta’s run support is fourth-best in the Junior Circuit.
In fact, Arrieta’s average run support (7.14 runs per game) is more than that of Jeremy Guthrie (3.15) and Zach Britton (3.84) combined.
First baseman Brandon Snyder has been recalled to take Derrek Lee’s place on the 25-man roster as the veteran first baseman mourns the passing of his grandfather. Lee is eligible to return Sunday, but is not expected to rejoin the club until the Toronto series on Tuesday.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
DH Johnny Damon
2B Ben Zobrist
3B Evan Longoria
1B Casey Kotchman
CF B.J. Upton
C John Jason
LF Sam Fuld
RF Justin Ruggiano
SS Reid Brignac
SP Jeremy Hellickson (7-3, 2.64 ERA)
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
DH Vladimir Guerrero
C Matt Wieters
1B Luke Scott
3B Mark Reynolds
LF Felix Pie
2B Robert Andino
SP Jake Arrieta (7-3, 4.93 ERA)
As we do for every weeknight home game, join us in the Orange Crush live chat beginning at 7:00. Talk about the game with us as an array of WNST.net personalities visit the cyber sports bar throughout the evening! Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis regarding the happenings from Oriole Park at Camden Yards!