It’s time for another division clash, with the Orioles taking on the Tampa Bay Rays: here’s everything you need to know.
After concluding a three game weekend series with the New York Yankees that saw the Orioles drop two out of three at home, it’s time for another divisional clash. The Orioles are hosting the Tampa Bay Rays for a four-game set at home. Here’s everything you need to know before the series begins.
KNOW YOUR OPPONENT
The Rays enter this series having dropped two out of three games to the Kansas City Royals over the weekend, winning Friday night but losing on both Saturday and Sunday. Overall, in their last ten games dating back to before the All-Star Break, the Rays have wins in seven of those games.
Brandon Lowe enters this series with three hits in his last ten at bats, which is a .300 clip out of the All-Star Break. Yandy Díaz is coming off a two-hit game on Sunday, as is Randy Arozarena. Francisco Mejía has four hits in his last eight at bats, which means he is hitting .500 entering the series.
The Orioles and Rays last met just before the All-Star Break at Tropicana Field, with the Rays taking two out of three games in the series, winning by scores of 5-4 and 7-5 respectively, with the Orioles winning the middle game 6-4. This season, the Orioles are 5-7 in the season series, with their next meeting from August 12-14 after the conclusion of this series. 5-7 is a huge improvement over last year when the O’s won a grand total of two games against Tampa.
The opening game of the series pits Kluber against Voth. Kluber enters the contest having allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings in his last start, which was also against the Orioles, a game that the Rays won. Kluber has a 6-5 record with a 3.73 ERA in 18 starts this season.
Voth enters his first start of the second half with a 1-1 record to go with a 6.38 ERA in five starts and 23 relief appearances, totaling 42 1/3 innings pitched. He last appeared on July 16 against the Rays, pitching 2 1/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen in a win for the Orioles, striking out a pair of hitters.
Game two of the series has McClanahan facing Watkins. In the All-Star Game, McClanahan was the starter for the AL, allowing two runs in one inning of work. His last regular season start saw him allow one run on three hits in 6 1/3 innings, bringing his record to 10-3, and his ERA down to 1.71 in 18 starts, throwing 110 2/3 innings.
Watkins enters the second half after a solid start to end the first half, allowing one run on four hits in five innings against the Cubs, a 7-1 win for the Orioles. He’s allowed just three runs in three starts this month, and is 2-0 this month, bringing his record to 3-1 and his ERA to 3.93 in 12 starts.
Game three features a righty-on-righty matchup between Rasmussen and Wells. Entering this start, Rasmussen last pitched on Friday night, twirling five innings of one run ball, allowing seven hits in a win for the Rays. In four starts this month, he’s allowed six runs and struck out 17 hitters over 19 2/3 innings.
Wells will enter his 20th start of the season in the midst of a rough patch. He is 1-2 in four starts this month, allowing 12 earned runs in 20 2/3 innings, striking out 20 hitters to bring his ERA to 3.69 this season, and his record to 7-6 in 90 1/3 innings pitched thus far.
Thursday, 7/28: TBD vs Jordan Lyles
The series finale has only Lyles listed as an official starter, with the Rays yet to announce one. Luis Patiño pitched on Saturday for the Rays and would be on normal rest, but he was optioned to Triple-A and won’t pitch on Thursday as of now. Ryan Yarbrough seems to be the choice that makes the most sense, as he pitched four innings in relief of Patiño on Saturday, allowing three runs in a loss for the Rays.
Lyles is coming off a Saturday start against the Yankees, allowing three runs in five innings pitched in what would turn into a win for the Orioles. This month, Lyles has a 2-1 record in five starts, allowing 13 runs while striking out 23 hitters in 27 innings.