Tampa Bay (63-52) sits atop the American League Wild Card standings and is in the midst of a crucial 10-game road trip. The Rays welcomed back third baseman Evan Longoria last Tuesday and have not lost since.
The Rays snapped Seattle's seven-game win streak at Safeco Field with a 4-1 win in the series opener on Monday. They will look to win their eighth game in a row with first-year starter Matt Moore on the mound.
Moore has been outstanding since the All-Star break, going 4-1 with a 1.47 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings. The left-hander said his confidence is building and that's factored in his recent success.
"I think it's a snowball effect. You start off with a good game and then you roll into another one," Moore said. "You expect to get into that same kind of rhythm, because it's easier to fall into it because you just did it the last start and the start after that. Things are a little bit more fresh."
Moore (9-7) has also tinkered with his pitch selection and has gotten better results. He is 8-2 over his last 10 decisions.
"I think I've been using my breaking ball more, which I can credit to me being ahead in the count a little more often," Moore said. "So we can get to those pitches that don't necessarily have to be thrown for strikes."
The Mariners (53-64) are back at home this week after a rough road trip that saw them go 3-6. Seattle finished strong, though, taking two out of three against the Angels.
"Tough road trip and played some interesting ballgames," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "I mean long, long games, with the heat and the teams we were playing. To win the series [against the Angels], I think it says a lot about our guys."
Still, the Mariners have lost seven of their last 10 games. Kevin Millwood is scheduled to start on Tuesday and will look to beat the Rays for the first time in two tries.
Millwood (4-10) lost to Tampa Bay on May 3, allowing four runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He has lost six of his last seven decisions and is 0-2 in August with a 9.90 ERA.
Rays: Zobrist to see more time at shortstop
Ben Zobrist could return to his familiar position as Tampa Bay's everyday shortstop during the stretch run.
Zobrist played the position for the Rays in 2006 and '07, but lost his spot as a result of his lack of production at the plate. But Zobrist has started at shortstop four times in the last five games, including Monday. He could see more time there going forward.
"It's possible, I just have to watch him," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "To this point he really seems to like it. That's what I'm getting out of it. He looks real comfortable.
"I'm almost thinking he's back home where he began. With Zo, if there's any balking to be done, you can tell it with his conversation. I'm not really hearing any of that. He's totally into it."
Zobrist is 7-for-18 with two doubles and two runs in his last four starts at shortstop. He went 3-for-4 on Monday with an RBI double in the third inning.
Mariners: Carp still sidelined
First baseman Mike Carp did not play on Monday, one day after he felt something pop in his right hip. Carp felt something amiss on Sunday when he stretched to make a catch at first base and the Mariners are unsure when he will be able to return to the lineup.
Dustin Ackley, typically a second baseman, started at first base on Monday. Ackley went 0-for-4 from the leadoff spot.
Carp has been on the disabled list twice this season because of a right shoulder injury. He is the only first baseman on Seattle's active roster.
Justin Smoak has been in Triple-A since July 23. He is hitting .222 in 19 games for Tacoma. But Wedge said there is not timetable for Smoak's return to the Majors.
"He's making some progress, he's just working on his swing," Wedge said. "He obviously played a great first base for us up here, so he's just down there to work on his swing, shorten up to the baseball a little bit, be a little bit more consistent with his swing in games. He's moving in the right direction."
Jesus Montero is another option at first base if Carp is out for an extended period, but he has not started there all season.
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is 3-for-6 in his career against Millwood with one home run, two RBIs and two walks.
Mariners outfielder Casper Wells was not in the lineup on Monday for the second straight game, but Wedge said Wells will start on Tuesday.