Orioles vs. Rays: Players to Watch in the Upcoming Series

Zachary KruegerCorrespondent IIApril 16, 2013

The Orioles being their series against the Rays on Tuesday.
The Orioles being their series against the Rays on Tuesday.Elsa/Getty Images

The Baltimore Orioles return home Tuesday night for their first home series against division rival Tampa Bay.  Baltimore went 2-1 against the Rays to start the season, and it currently stands at 6-6 on the season.

The Rays, meanwhile, have come out of the gate struggling.  Tampa Bay currently sits in the basement of the AL East with a 4-8 record.  

Any divisional matchup is a key series for both teams  Here are a few players to watch in the upcoming division series. 


Tampa Bay: Evan Longoria 

The Rays' offense has struggled this season, hitting just .205 with only four home runs.  The struggles for the Rays have come as a bit of surprise, especially for a team that is anchored by third baseman Evan Longoria.

On the year, Longoria has hit .300, but he has only one home run and four RBI in the team's first 12 games.  Last season, in his lone series at Baltimore, Longoria registered three hits in 12 at-bats without homering or driving in a run.

Camden Yards is a hitter-friendly ballpark and could bode will for Longoria in his efforts to boost his power numbers early this season.



Tampa Bay: David Price 

David Price has had a rough start for the Rays in 2013.  The 2012 Cy Young winner is 0-1 on the season with a 5.82 ERA and is allowing hitters to post a .300 average against him.  Price has allowed four home runs and 11 earned runs in 17 innings pitched this season.

The Orioles will look to continue the success they had against Price on Opening Day, when they recorded seven hits off him.  They chased Price from the game after just six innings and went on to win the game 7-4.

Price is scheduled to pitch the third game of the series and will look to put his first three starts of the season behind him.   


Baltimore: Manny Machado 

Through the first six games of the season, Machado got off to a slow start.  The second-year pro hit just .192, going 5-for-26 at the plate. Recently, however, he has started to find his groove.

In his last six games, Machado has hit .320 for the Birds.  He played a key role for the Orioles in their series against Boston, going 5-for-13, including a game-winning home run in the second game of the series. 

Machado's bat seems to be getting hot at the right time and could play a key role in the Orioles' success against the Rays. 


Baltimore: Jake Arrieta 

Arrieta has struggled in his first two starts with the Orioles.  He is winless on the season and has an ERA of 7.20.  Hitters have hit .270 off him, scoring eight runs in just 10 innings of work.

Arrieta could be given a short leash this season given his poor 2012 season.  He was demoted last season after struggling to be productive for the Orioles.

Arrieta has a chance to improve his stock with Baltimore by posting a solid outing against the Rays and their struggling offense.