Rays left-hander Matt Moore will have the chance to make his mark on the trip, as the only pitcher scheduled for two starts. The first comes Tuesday night at Camden Yards, when the Rays and the Orioles -- who sit a game back of the AL East-leading Yankees and one up on the Tampa Bay for the second AL Wild Card spot -- open a three-game set.
"I'm very happy with having that," Moore said before Sunday's game against the Rangers. "I'd rather be pushed up in the rotation and pitch a day sooner. This is a tough series. I'm glad that I'm going to have a hand in both of these series on the road."
The Rays, having won six of eight, take on and equally hot Baltimore club. The Orioles have taken 11 of their past 16 and started their homestand by splitting four games with the Yankees. Baltimore has gone 4-2 against Tampa Bay at Camden Yards this season, although the overall series is even at 6.
Moore (10-9, 3.66 ERA) has gone 2-1 with a 1.15 ERA in three starts against the Orioles this season. But in his one outing at Camden Yards, on May 12, he gave up four runs -- one earned -- in four innings.
Moore had held the opposition to two earned runs or fewer in eight of nine starts heading into his last start, against the Yankees on Wednesday. And while he struck out nine in that one, the Bombers reached him for six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.
"I feel pretty good," Moore said. "There's some things that I can get better at as far as my last start and the start before that. It mostly has to do with getting ahead and staying ahead. My breaking ball's been kind of my pitch over the last couple starts as far as my off-speed goes, but we'll see. Maybe it'll be the changeup coming around."
Set to start for the Orioles is Jason Hammel, who gutted out five-plus innings against the Yankees on Thursday in his first start since July 13.
Hammel, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, allowed just one run on six hits and a pair of walks, while notching six strikeouts. The former Ray will take on his teammates for the first time in his career.
Rays: Pitch-tipping an issue for Moore
After Wednesday's game, former Major Leaguer John Kruk did a segment for ESPN's Baseball Tonight that showed how Moore was tipping his pitches against the Yankees. On video, it was apparent that Moore was slightly tapping the ball in his glove before delivering his fastball, but not for his offspeed stuff.
"It had been brought to my attention in the past quite a bit, then I stopped doing it," Moore said on Sunday. "Before I knew it, I was doing it again. It's kind of something that I've got to stay conscious of and make sure that whatever I'm going to do, it's going to be the same."
Moore said he can feel himself doing it. His results have still been good, suggesting that either the hitters have trouble seeing the tap from their angle, or that Moore's stuff is good enough to compensate most of the time. He also agreed that his awareness of the situation could allow him to mess with teams that are looking out for a tap.
"Hopefully there's something that -- later on, we can start tapping on some other pitches and not tap at all for an inning," he said. "Whatever it's got to be, it's got to be consistent."
Outfielder Desmond Jennings plans to play on Tuesday after sitting out the past two games with tightness in his lower back.
Orioles: Filling Markakis' roles
Nick Markakis played right field and batted leadoff in every Orioles game, from July 13 through Saturday. He couldn't do either on Sunday after a CC Sabathia fastball broke his left thumb the night before.
With Markakis likely out for at least the remainder of the regular season, Baltimore has no choice but to move on, and so Chris Davis played right field in the series finale against the Yankees, while Nate McLouth batted first.
It was Davis' 16th start in right, but he also has been in the lineup in left field, first base and designated hitter this season. McLouth's only start at leadoff this season came on April 22, when he was with the Pirates, but he figures to see plenty of time there going forward.
Markakis is scheduled to undergo surgery on his thumb on Tuesday in Florida. The club hopes he can return for the playoffs.
After this series, the teams will play once more, when they finish the regular season with three games at Tropicana Field.
Markakis was hitting .335 in 221 leadoff at-bats this season. The rest of the team had a .207 mark out of that spot.