With the current state of the American League East and Wild Card standings, Wednesday's matchup for Tampa Bay and Baltimore seems to carry even more weight than usual.
After winning the series opener, Baltimore, which is tied with the Yankees for first in the division, holds a two-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East, and Wednesday's matchup at Camden Yards will either extend it to a three-game advantage or shrink it down to one.
The Rays are hoping that starter Alex Cobb can build off his last start, a win against the Yankees in which he allowed two runs on four hits and one walk with five strikeouts over seven innings. But when Cobb takes the mound, it'll be eight days since that start, and he hopes it doesn't end up hurting him.
"It was a long layover between starts, but I took a couple of days and forgot about stuff, went back to work Sunday, my bullpen session, everything felt good," Cobb said. "Mechanics are in good rhythm, just look to carry that over for [Wednesday] night."
Baltimore will counter with Miguel Gonzalez, the 28-year-old righty who is coming off a loss to the Blue Jays. He's had a week of rest since that start when he gave up five runs on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings with four punchouts.
Gonzalez has made great strides recently, having allowed two runs or fewer in four of his past six starts, which included wins over the Yankees, Red Sox and Royals.
Rays: Jennings expects to return to Rays' lineup
Desmond Jennings, who missed two games with lower back stiffness, was out of the lineup on Tuesday for the third straight game.
The outfielder said he took swings in the batting cage and swung off a tee on Tuesday and he said he felt fine.
Jennings even went so far as to say that he thought he would be in the lineup in the series opener against the Orioles.
Instead, Ben Francisco filled Jennings' spot in left field and went 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts in his absence on Tuesday.
Orioles: Chavez, Hoes add outfield depth
Baltimore is without Nick Markakis for the rest of the regular season, so the club turned to Endy Chavez and L.J. Hoes to bolster depth in the outfield.
Chavez saw time in the Majors earlier this season, appearing in 47 games for the Orioles, but he batted just .190. Hoes, meanwhile, made his first trip to the bigs after hitting .300 in 82 games with Triple-A Norfolk.
To make room on the 40-man roster, Baltimore designated righty reliever Kevin Gregg and infielder Ryan Adams for assignment. Gregg was 3-2 with a 4.74 ERA in 40 games, and Adams didn't see any time with the Orioles in 2012.
Neither of the team's two new additions played Tuesday.
Rays starter David Price, who missed a scheduled start Saturday, threw his normal bullpen session Tuesday and hopes to start Friday against the Yankees.
Though he has nine homers in his past 11 games, Baltimore slugger Mark Reynolds is hitless in his past eight at-bats.