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News » Rays-Orioles Preview 2009-04-12


Rays-Orioles Preview 2009-04-12


Rays-Orioles Preview 2009-04-12
Sent to the minors last July, Adam Eaton didn't get to experience a World Series victory over Tampa Bay.

On Sunday, though, the 31-year-old right-hander gets a shot at the Rays, and another opportunity to revive his career, when he takes the mound at Camden Yards in the Baltimore Orioles' series finale.

Left off Philadelphia's playoff roster for the second straight season, Eaton (4-8, 5.80 ERA) was released by the World Series champs on Feb. 27 after two disappointing seasons with the Phillies in which he failed to live up to a $24.5 million, three-year contract.

"I don't think upset is the right word," he said. "Underachieve? Yeah. The expectations for both sides coming in were unrealized. One was achieved last year, but not in the way we thought.

"I thought when we signed the deal, that I would be an integral part in any positives on the field. For the most part, it didn't happen that way."

Baltimore signed Eaton to a minor league contract March 1.

"It's an opportunity to add a veteran starter," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "Last year, he had 19 starts, 10 of which were quality starts. It's something that's appealing to us. It represents a low-risk opportunity to have a veteran that we can evaluate to see if it makes sense to us going forward."

Sunday's start will be Eaton's first time on the active roster this season, as it's the first time the Orioles have needed a fifth starter.

Eaton faces Tampa Bay for the first time since Aug. 21, 2006, when he gave up four runs and 11 hits over five innings of a 4-3 loss for the Texas Rangers. James Shields, who will start Sunday for the Rays, went six innings and earned the win in that matchup.

Eaton is 0-2 with a 4.09 ERA lifetime against Tampa Bay, but if the Orioles (4-1) can keep hitting the ball at their current pace, he should have plenty of run support.

Baltimore is averaging 6.0 runs and 10.0 hits.

Fifth-place hitter Melvin Mora's first-inning grand slam was the big blow in Saturday's 6-0 win over the Rays (2-3), but the top of the lineup has the team off to another hot start. Baltimore opened 2008 with six wins in its first seven games.

Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis went a combined 5-for-14 with two RBIs as the Orioles ensured their first series win over their AL East rivals since taking two of three from Aug. 3-5, 2007. All three players are hitting .389 or better, and are batting a combined .313 lifetime against Shields (0-1, 8.44).

Shields led Tampa Bay with 215 innings each of the past two seasons, but lasted just 5 1-3 on Tuesday in a 5-3 loss to Boston as he allowed five runs and nine hits.

Shields, though, is 4-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 12 career starts against the Orioles. Tampa Bay has won his last seven starts against Baltimore.

Evan Longoria went 2-for-4 on Saturday for his fourth consecutive multihit game. The third baseman leads the Rays in batting average (.455), home runs (4) and RBIs (8).


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 12, 2009

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