ST. PETERSBURG, FL — With a disappointing series loss to the Indians at home fresh in their minds, the Orioles will head south for a three-game weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays, who are surprisingly in contention this season. Tampa Bay is on a two-game winning streak after taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds at the Trop.
Standings Update: The Rays (39-36) man the third place slot in the American League East, and are 2.5 games behind both the Yankees (39-31) and the Red Sox (40-32), who are tied for first place. The Orioles and Blue Jays are tied for last place in the division with a shared 35-37 record.
Season Series vs. Rays: The Orioles have only played the Rays three times this season; a three game series at Camden Yards from April 24-26. The Birds won the series 2-1, winning game one, 6-3, and game three, 5-4. Tampa Bay won game two, 2-0. It was the second time the O’s have been shut out this season, and the second time in six games.
Serious Road Woes: To say that the O’s have struggled on the road this season would be an understatement. The Birds are 11-23 away from Camden Yards, and the pitching staff has been a nightmare, with a 6.14 road ERA. That mark is the worst in the majors, with the San Francisco Giants being the 29th ranked road ERA at 5.71. The Orioles actually have a slightly better batting average on the road (.256) than at home (.255), but clearly the struggling pitching outweigh that feat.
Game Times and Pitching Matchups:
Notes on the Orioles:
- Bundy has not pitched well at the Trop so far in his career. In two starts, he has pitched a combined seven innings, allowing nine earned runs on 12 hits, five walks, and 11 strikeouts.
- The Orioles held Adam Jones out of the lineup on Thursday to rest his legs, as the next six games the Orioles are playing will take place on artificial turf.
- Closer Zach Britton, currently on the 60-day disabled list, pitched in Aberdeen on Tuesday. He started, pitching a scoreless inning on 12 pitches. Britton is not eligible to come off the DL until July 5, and the expectation is that he will be back immediately after the All-Star Break (July 10-13), if not before.
- Darren O’Day is expected to come off of the disabled list on Friday. Immediately after Thursday night’s 6-3 loss, reliever Gabriel Ynoa was optioned to Triple-A.
- The Orioles pitching staff has allowed five or more runs in 19 straight games. That’s an American League Record, and the MLB record is 20 games, set by the Phillies in 1920.
- Manager Buck Showalter missed Thursday night’s game to be in Dallas for the birth of his first grandchild. Bench Coach John Russell managed the team in Showalter’s place. Buck will meet the team in St. Petersburg on Friday.
Notes on the Rays:
- Left fielder Corey Dickerson is Tampa Bay’s top offensive performer this season, with a .326 average in 288 at-bats. He has 94 hits, 20 doubles, three triples, 16 home runs, and 37 RBI.
- In his one start against the O’s this season, Archer allowed five runs over 6.2 innings (6H/5BB/5SO) in a 6-3 Rays loss.
- Longtime Rays third baseman Evan Longoria has a lifetime .265 average against the Orioles, but he has hit more home runs against the Birds (35) than any other team he has faced in his career.
Up Next: Following an off-day on Monday (their first off day in 20 days), the Orioles will play the second half of this six-game road trip in Toronto for a three-game set with the Blue Jays. All three games, Tuesday through Thursday, have a 7:07 pm start time.
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