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Tampa Bay at Seattle

Venue: Safeco Field
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Seemingly assured of a playoff appearance a little more than a month ago, the Tampa Bay Rays' postseason fate has become a lot less certain. They might miss out on the playoffs altogether for the second straight year if they don't soon find a way to turn things around.

Giving the ball to Matt Moore against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday at Safeco Field figures to be a good start as Tampa Bay tries to avoid losing control of an AL wild-card berth.

The Rays (77-64) suffered a 6-2 loss at Seattle on Saturday, their 11th defeat in 14 games.

They owned the AL's best record at 64-43 on July 30, giving them a one-half game divisional edge over Boston. Tampa Bay has since gone 13-21 with only Miami (13-22), the Chicago Cubs (12-23) and Houston (12-25) posting worst records.

The AL East race is essentially over with the Red Sox running their lead up to 8 1/2 games, while Saturday's loss trimmed the Rays' wild-card advantage to one game over Cleveland and Baltimore. New York and Kansas City aren't too far off the pace either at 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 games, respectively.

Tampa Bay has totaled 37 runs and is 21 for 127 (.165) with runners in scoring position during the 3-11 stretch and managed just two runs and four hits over six innings off Seattle starter James Paxton in his big league debut Saturday.

Evan Longoria broke a nine-game drought without an RBI by connecting for a two-run homer, but Desmond Jennings, Yunel Escobar, Wil Myers and David DeJesus are a combined 5 for 47 (.106) with runners in scoring position since Aug. 25.

"We're just unable to get the hit when you need to," manager Joe Maddon said. "I know we gave up six runs, but sometimes you've got to score seven, you've got to score eight. We're still unable to really put an offense together."

Tampa Bay is hopeful it won't need many runs with Moore (15-3, 3.27 ERA) on the mound in his second start since spending a month on the disabled list due to elbow soreness.

The left-hander showed little rust in a 7-1 road win over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, allowing four hits and an unearned run while striking out six in 5 1-3 innings.

Moore is 7-0 in his last eight outings with a 2.06 ERA.

"It didn't really feel foreign out there. I think all of the thoughts I had were pretty typical for a start," Moore said. "Just being able to travel with the team on the road when I was on the DL and be in the dugout in every home game was big for me because it helped me stay in the game."

Moore went 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts versus Seattle last year, recording 23 strikeouts in 20 innings.

Seattle will counter with Erasmo Ramirez (5-1, 5.07), who gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 13, but owns a 2.81 ERA over four starts since.

A Mariners win Sunday would mark their first series sweep of the Rays in three games or more since Aug. 7-9, 2006, in Seattle.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Matt Moore, LHP
2013 stats
126.2 Innings Pitched 55.0
15-3 Wins-Losses 5-1
3.27 Earned Run Average 5.07
60 Walks 17
121 Strikeouts 45
98 Pitches Per Start 101
Career vs. opponent
20.0 Innings Pitched 6.0
1-1 Wins-Losses 1-0
1.80 Earned Run Average 6.00

Erasmo Ramirez, RHP
Weather
weather image  Mostly sunny. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
79°F60°F5mph/NE50%3%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Tampa Bay4th AL East7479.48418 ½ 5-5 L 1
Seattle3rd AL West8170.53613 ½ 3-7 L 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Erasmo Ramirez
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Zobrist43200.750
Escobar53011.600
Joyce31000.333
Longoria31001.333
Loney31001.333
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Matt Moore
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Ackley63001.500
Saunders52102.400
Seager82000.250
Ryan71012.143
Smoak81012.125
 
Injuries
Tampa Bay
PlayerInjury
T. BeckhamKnee
D. JenningsKnee
M. MooreElbow
J. PeraltaIllness
J. SandsWrist
Seattle
PlayerInjury
B. BeavanShoulder
W. BloomquistKnee
R. EliasElbow
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Mar 31LAASEA 10-3Hernandez Weaver 
Apr 1LAASEA 8-3Ramirez Wilson 
Apr 2LAASEA 8-2Paxton Santiago 
Apr 8SEASEA 5-3Paxton Santiago 
Apr 9SEALAA 2-0Richards Elias 
May 26SEASEA 5-1Young Skaggs 
May 27SEALAA 6-4Weaver Elias 
May 28SEASEA 3-1Hernandez Wilson 
May 29SEALAA 7-5Shoemaker Maurer 
Jul 18LAALAA 3-2Santiago Leone 
Jul 19LAASEA 3-2Leone Thatcher 
Jul 20LAALAA 6-5Thatcher Rodney 
Sep 15LAALAA 8-1Shoemaker Iwakuma 
Sep 16LAASEA 13-2Smith Grilli 
Sep 17LAALAA 5-0Wilson Paxton 
Sep 18LAA10:05 PM EDT  
Sep 26SEA10:10 PM EDT  
Sep 27SEA 9:10 PM EDT  
Sep 28SEA 4:10 PM EDT