Thursday evening bases and a pair of teams from the American League East will duke it out as the Tampa Bay rays take on the Baltimore Orioles in game one of a four-game series from Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. The Rays lead the season series 8-4.
Pitching Matchup: Toeing the slab for the Rays will be Ryan Yarbrough (11-3, 3.34 ERA) and the Orioles will counter with Asher Wojciechowski (2-6, 4.78 ERA).
Rays Rally To Avoid Being Swept
The Tampa Bay Rays are in a heated battle for a wildcard berth in the American League and they can’t afford to take losses at home to teams that are well out of the mix. The Rays did not listen to that advice in the first two games of their series with the Mariners, as they lost both. Tampa then trailed the Mariners 6-5 heading to the bottom of the 9th, but they rallied for the much-needed 7-6 win. Kevin Kiermaier (13) ripped a homer to dead center in to tie the game in the 9th and the Rays eventually won the game when Willy Adames scored on a wild pitch. Not your classic walk-off, but the Rays will take it and at the time of this writing, they have a half-game lead over the A’s for the final wildcard slot in the AL.
Charlie Morton did not have a great outing as he allowed three ERs on four hits in 5.0 innings of work but was able to walk away with a no-decision. Emilio Pagan allowed three ERs in the top of the 9th and suffered his 7th blown save of the year, but he also picked up the win and is now 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA on the year. Just like the series against the Mariners, this is one that they rays cannot afford to struggle in as the Orioles have been out of this year’s playoff mix since the end of last year. It wasn’t surprising that the Rays struggled in their series against the Mariners as that was at home and they have gone just 34-31 at the Trop, compared to a strong 40-23 mark out on the road. It is imperative that the Rays play well in this series as they have four games at Houston on deck, followed by three at home against Cleveland.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 21, 2019
Taking the hill for the Rays will be Ryan Yarbrough and he has gone 11-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 21 games (seven starts) on the year, including 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA in his last three starts and 2-2 with a 4.66 ERA in 10 games (four starts) on the road. Righties are hitting .205 off of Yarbrough, while lefties are hitting .213 off of him. He has gone 3-2 with a 2.76 ERA in his seven games as a starter this year. In his career, he has gone 5-4 with a 3.48 ERA in 13 games as a starter and 3-0 with a 2.96 ERA in five games out of the pen against the Orioles. Yarbrough has allowed eight ERs on 25 hits and six walks while striking out 20 in 24.1 innings of work in those outings.
The Rays have been below average on offense so far as they come in ranked 20th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.66 rpg, while also ranking 13th in hitting at .253 and 20th in homers with 165. On the mound, they have been very strong as they rank 2nd in the league in ERA at 3.52 while also ranking 3rd in WHIP at 1.16 and 2nd in K’s with 1259. Their pen ranks 2nd in ERA at 3.66.
Orioles Get Rare Blowout Win
The Baltimore Orioles are last in the league in run differential at -252 and they are just 12-38 in games decided by five runs or more. Bottom line is that the Orioles are not on the winning side of many blowouts, but they were on Wednesday night as they beat the Royals by a score 8-1. It was just the 8th time all year that they won a game by seven or more runs. The Orioles lost game one of their series with the Royals, but won the last two and outscored them 12-2 in the process. I wouldn’t get too excited Baltimore fans, as they were facing the Royals. They will now step up in class as the O’s are facing a playoff-contending team that is also one of the best road teams in the league. Can Baltimore play the role of spoiler against the Rays? We shall see.
Let us return to the 8-1 win on Wednesday night. The Orioles put up a three-spot in the bottom of the 2nd inning and they never looked back. The Orioles launched four balls into the stratosphere with Hanser Alberto (9), Anthony Santander (12), Renato Nunez (28), and Jonathan Villar (17) all going deep for them. Aaron Brooks has not looked good at all this year for the O’s, but he had a strong outing against KC, allowing just one ER on seven hits and a walk while striking out four in 5.0 innings of work. He is now at 3-7 with a 6.21 ERA on the year. Despite the win, the Orioles are still just 20-44 here at home for the year.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 22, 2019
Getting the nod for the Orioles will be Asher Wojciechowski and he has gone 2-6 with a 4.78 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) on the year, including 0-2 with a 6.28 ERA in his last three starts and 1-3 with a 4.82 ERA in six games (five starts) here at home. Righties are hitting .214 off of him, while lefties are hitting .226. In his career, he has gone 4-10 with a 6.77 ERA in 20 games as a starter and 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two games (one start) against the Rays.
The Orioles have a poor offensive team so far as they come in ranked 25th in the league in scoring, putting up 4.36 rpg, while also ranking 24th in hitting at .245 and 22nd in homers with 154. On the mound, they have been very poor as they come in ranked 30th in the league in ERA at 5.96, while also ranking 30th in WHIP at 1.50 and 30th in K’s with 932. The bullpen ranks 30th in the league with a 6.30 ERA.
Tampa Bay is:
- 39-18 in their last 57 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400
- 8-1 in their last 9 games on grass
- 5-0 in Yarbrough’s last 5 starts on grass
- 13-40 in their last 53 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15.
- 17-57 in their last 74 home games vs. a team with a winning record.
- 15-59 in their last 74 during game 1 of a series