It all comes down to pitching and the Orioles-Rays series, which starts on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, will be a showdown of a pair of pitchers trying to rebound from disappointing outings.
Rays starter Chris Archer earned a no-decision in his last game after going 4 2/3 innings against the Red Sox in the second game of Thursday's doubleheader in Boston. He started out well, but things changed quickly.
"In the fifth inning, I just tried to be a little bit too fine. I went away from my aggressive mentality," said Archer, who is 2-1 with a 4.84 ERA. "And it was only for like two hitters, and I put myself in a bind. So I learned to just stick with my consistent thoughts. Don't get outside of my consistent thoughts against any team. ... Things can turn quickly. So as long as I stay within myself, stay within my thought, I'll be fine. And last game, I didn't do that in the fifth inning. And whenever I brought that back together, it was a tough situation."
Archer, who allowed a career-high seven earned runs in his last outing against the Orioles, considers Baltimore one of the toughest lineups to face.
"But again, if I stay within myself I know that I'll be all right," he said. "Last game they did get me. But I didn't execute pitches. And it's rare that I execute pitches and get hit like I did last time. So I'm trusting my ability, trusting my work with [Ryan Hanigan], [Jim Hickey], with everybody these days in between and I'm just going to look to give a better outing than I did the first time, for sure."
Archer will be opposed by Orioles ace Chris Tillman, who is coming off a pair of abbreviated outings and will try to give an overworked Baltimore bullpen a break. The O's enter the series with just one start -- Ubaldo Jimenez's on Friday -- longer than 5 1/3 innings and manager Buck Showalter has made it no secret that has to change.
"Hopefully everybody will get some rest and finally we'll play some games at the same time in the same city in the same time zone," Showalter said following Sunday's series loss in Minnesota. "It's part of it. I'm not going to use it and our players aren't going to use it. Everybody's got those challenges. We didn't swing the bats particularly well as far as effectiveness, and these short starts can catch up with you."
Rays: Loney comfortable at Yankee Stadium
James Loney had three hits Saturday at Yankee Stadium, making for his fourth consecutive three-hit game at Yankee Stadium.
The stretch marks the longest such streak in the ballpark's history, according to Elias. On Sunday, though, Loney went 0-for-4 in the series finale.
Loney reached base five times Friday night against the Yankees, matching a career high.
Orioles: Davis encouraged by progress
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who did sprints and hip-strengthening exercises on Saturday, planned on asking if he could take ground balls on Sunday and hopes to be cleared within the next few days to start swinging the bat.
Davis, sidelined with a left oblique injury, said he has a little "cabin fever" sitting around. After going through Saturday's initial exam with no discomfort, the first day he hasn't had any in that area, Davis was allowed to do some work on the field with strength and conditioning coach Joe Hogarty.
"That's obviously a good sign," Davis said. "I think the big thing now is not getting too far ahead of myself and just continuing to progress and not have a setback."
• After Sunday's game, the Rays had played five games against the Red Sox and Yankees in approximately 75 hours. They played 41 innings over three days -- Thursday, Friday and Saturday, their most ever over three consecutive days.
• Ryan Hanigan is on pace for 89 RBIs. If he maintains that pace, he can top John Flaherty's franchise record for catchers. Flaherty had 77 in 1999.
• The Orioles' loss to the Twins on Sunday afternoon makes them 6-8 in day games.
• Nick Markakis extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single on Sunday. He is hitting .347 with two homers and six RBIs over that stretch.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.