How John Means Can Get the Orioles Back on Track Versus Rays

With John Means taking the mound on Wednesday, the Orioles have a chance to improve their results in May and get a win versus a division rival

So far in the month of May, the Baltimore Orioles haven’t had the success they hoped they might have after finishing April at 12-14, only two games below the .500 mark. Through their first 15 games in May, Baltimore’s record on the month is just 5-10, including losses in 8 of their last 10 games. With John Means taking the mound for just the second time since his no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners, the O’s have an opportunity to snap their cold streak and draw even with the Tampa Bay Rays in the season series.

John Means has arguably been the best starting pitcher in the American League to this point in the season. Trailing only Jacob deGrom for the lowest ERA in Major League Baseball, Means has presented himself as a pitcher opposing offenses should fear, which is something the Orioles haven’t truly had since the turn of the century in Mike Mussina. With the wounds of Tuesday’s 13-6 loss still fresh, Baltimore can trust in Means to deliver a start that will give them a fighting chance at winning Wednesday’s ballgame.

Means has been successful in 2021 largely in part due to his increased whiff rate this season. With what is considered the best changeup in baseball by weighted changeup runs (wCH) in his arsenal, Means has been capable of using the pitch as his weapon of choice against opposing hitters and has done it effectively. The Rays currently hold the second-highest swinging-strike rate of any team in the league, which should put Means in a position to get plenty of swings and misses on Wednesday.

Tampa Bay’s Ryan Yarbrough will have the starting pitching duties against John Means and the Orioles in what will be the second of 3 games against the Rays this week.