Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays game preview

TV: FOX Sports Sun

Time: Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.

It's hard to fathom that Chris Archer was the first pitcher in the majors to four losses.

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Unless he's much better against the Baltimore Orioles than he was earlier this month, an 0-5 start is very much a possibility.

Archer looks to avoid that fate and help the Tampa Bay Rays to a third straight home win Monday night in the opener of this three-game series.

Any success Tampa Bay expected this season surely included a big contribution from Archer (0-4, 7.32 ERA), the team leader in wins last season who finished second in the AL in strikeouts (252), fourth in opponent batting average (.220) and sixth in ERA (3.23).

The right-hander, though, struggled late last season and hasn't found any kind of rhythm thus far in 2016. Archer is 0-7 with a 6.39 ERA in 10 starts since beating Baltimore on Aug. 31, and hasn't won at home since June 23.

"I'm not happy by any means," Archer told the Rays' official website, "but nobody said this game was going to be easy. I'm going to continue to work hard, get better every single day, and I really trust and believe that I'll get past this."

He was roughed up again Wednesday at Fenway Park, allowing three runs before recording an out in a 7-3 loss. Archer surrendered six runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings while walking three and striking out six.

"The first inning put the team behind the 8-ball," Archer said. "I didn't execute pitches very well, and they made the most of it."

Perhaps Archer's worst start of the season came at Camden Yards on April 8, when he surrendered a career-high four homers and six runs over five innings of a 6-1 loss.

Archer is 1-4 with a 5.86 ERA in his last eight starts against the Orioles.

Manny Machado has been a particular nemesis. The third baseman is 9 for 22 with a home run, while Chris Davis is 5 for 14 with two homers and Jonathan Schoop 4 for 7 with one longball. All three homered on April 8.

Machado failed to get a hit for the first time this season in Sunday's 6-1 loss at Kansas City, ending his career-high 16-game hitting streak. He still leads the AL with a .380 average and teammate Mark Trumbo is next at .373.

Baltimore (11-6) has lost six of 10 since a 7-0 start that included a pair of wins over Tampa Bay. The Rays (8-10) batted .203 in that series and had only two hits with runners in scoring position.

They were much better offensively Sunday at Yankee Stadium, scoring five first-inning runs en route to an 8-1 victory. Steven Souza Jr. hit two of his team's five homers on his 27th birthday and Logan Forsythe had three hits as Tampa Bay avoided the sweep and split its six-game trip.

The Rays scored three runs or fewer in 13 of their first 17 games.

"We've been a little bit quiet here and there, but these guys can hit," manager Kevin Cash said. "Evident today."

They'll try to continue that offense against Kevin Gausman (4-7, 4.25 in 2015), who makes his season debut after sitting out the first three weeks with tendinitis in his right shoulder. The right-hander made his first eight appearances last season as a reliever before moving into the rotation full-time in mid-June. He went 3-7 with a 4.22 ERA in 17 starts.

Gausman posted a 3.27 ERA in three minor league starts this month, striking out 19 in 11 innings.

He's 1-3 with a 5.97 ERA in seven career starts against the Rays.

Forsythe is 4 for 5 with a home run and two doubles against Gausman.