BALTIMORE, MD — For the second weekend in a row, the Orioles will face the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series, this time at Camden Yards.

Last weekend, the O’s took two of three from the Rays, and avoided giving up five runs or more in 21 straight contests, which would have been a Major League record.

The Orioles are coming off of a 4-2 road trip that ended with the Birds taking two of three from the Blue Jays in Toronto. The Rays, meanwhile, are on a two-game losing streak after losing two of three to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Standings Update: As of Friday morning, the .500 Orioles (39-39) are in fourth place in the American League East, 4.5 games behind the first-place Red Sox (44-35). The Rays (41-30), meanwhile, currently man the third place slot and are four games behind Boston.

Season Series vs. Rays: This is the second time in 2017 that the Rays and Orioles meet at Camden Yards. The first series played between these two teams at Camden Yards this season took place from April 24-26, with the Orioles winning two of three games. Baltimore currently leads the season series against Tampa Bay, 4-2.

Castillo Injured: Once again, catcher Welington Castillo is spending some time in the trainer’s room. He was initially in the Orioles lineup on Thursday before their game against the Blue Jays, but was scratched late with a left knee sprain, according to Steve Melewski of MASN.

Caleb Joseph replaced Castillo in Thursday’s lineup, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single. Castillo has already gone through two stints on the 10-day disabled list with back spasms and a groin injury.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups: 

Game 1Friday, June 30, 7:05 pm – Jacob Faria (3-0, 2.10 ERA) vs. Chris Tillman (1-5, 8.39 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Note: Tillman’s wife is expected to give birth this weekend. If the baby comes on Friday, Dylan Bundy would start in Tillman’s place.

Game 2Saturday, July 1, 4:05 pm – Jake Odorizzi (4-3, 4.00 ERA) vs. Bundy (8-6, 3.73 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 3Sunday, July 2, 1:35 pm – Alex Cobb (6-5, 3.73 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (4-7, 6.07 ERA).

Notes on the Rays:

  • Cobb has a lifetime 2.00 ERA against the Orioles, but his ERA at Camden Yards is 3.65.
  • In his career, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is 20-for-66 with nine home runs off Tillman
  • On Thursday, reliever Adam Kolarek made his MLB debut against the Pirates, throwing 1.1 scoreless innings of relief. Kolarek is a Baltimore native. He went to Catonsvile High School and the University of Maryland.

Notes on the Orioles: 

  • Gausman’s start on Tuesday (5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K) was the first time all season that he allowed less than five hits, excluding his one-inning performance in Boston on May 3 when he was ejected for hitting Xander Bogaerts with a 77-MPH fastball.
  • Buck Showalter and the Orioles’ coaching staff used the off-day on Monday and an additional skip day for Bundy, who of course underwent Tommy John surgery a few years ago. Bundy has pitched 99 innings so far this season.
  • Last weekend against the Rays, Trey Mancini went 5-for-11 with two home runs, an RBI double, an RBI single, and a walk.
  • Before the Tampa/Toronto road trip, the Orioles went a combined 1-10 in their two previous road trips. The 4-2 margin over both the Rays and the Blue Jays is great to see after such a miserable stretch away from Camden Yards.

What’s Next: Following this series, the O’s will be packing their bags again for their last road trip before the All-Star Break. The Orioles will head north for a three-game inter-league series against the Milwaukee Brewers from July 3-5, followed by a four-game series in Minneapolis against the Twins from July 6-9.

Image Credit: WCIV