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Preview: Rays at Athletics

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Aug 05 2014 05:56:48 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 05 2014 05:56:49 AM CDT

The Oakland Athletics have made a pair of blockbuster trades to bolster their starting rotation but they are still waiting for a contribution from Jason Hammel as they prepare for the second of a three-game series with the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday. Hammel has lost all four starts with the Athletics and has been shelled in his last three. " It's just a small speed bump, and I do want to go out there and give people something to cheer about," Hammel said.Oakland is clinging to a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels despite owning the best record in the majors, but the Rays are 5 1/2 games out of the second wild card with nine games left on their 10-game road trip. Playing away from home has not fazed Tampa Bay, which had won eight straight on the road prior to Monday's 10-inning loss to the Athletics. It was the fourth setback in five games for the Rays following an 11-1 tear that got them back in the race.TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), CSN California (Oakland) PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays LH Drew Smyly (6-9, 3.93 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Jason Hammel (8-9, 3.87)Smyly is in the unenviable position of taking the starting spot of former ace David Price after he was acquired from Detroit in a three-team deal at the trade deadline. He gave up four runs and 11 hits in a no-decision versus the Chicago White Sox last time out after fanning 11 over 5 2/3 innings in a loss at the Los Angeles Angels in his previous turn. Smyly was pounded by the Athletics for six runs and eight hits in Oakland on May 26. Hammel has been a disaster since arriving via trade from the Chicago Cubs, yielding 20 runs over 17 innings in his four outings. He was clubbed for a season-worst eight runs in 4 1/3 innings at Houston last time out and has allowed five homers since joining the Athletics. Hammel has struggled against Tampa Bay dating to his time with Baltimore, logging a 1-2 record and 5.19 ERA in five career starts. WALK-OFFS1. Athletics SS Jed Lowrie is batting .337 in 24 games since July 5.2. Rays 1B James Loney is 10-for-21 during a five-game hitting streak.3. Athletics CF Coco Crisp (neck) came off the bench Monday and could be in the starting lineup for the first time since July 26.PREDICTION: Athletics 4, Rays 3

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