Series Preview: Orioles prepare to play first series against divisional opponent since early July

The Orioles have been riding a roller coaster of emotions since the All-Star break. They came out of the gate getting swept by the Cubs, but somehow rebounded and swept the Rangers in four games. Then everything came crashing back down when the O's were faced with a World Series-contending Astros team.

The ups and downs of the last 10 games even caused management to seemingly go from buyers to sellers, and then back to buyers once again. Sitting at 47-51, the Orioles look to shoot for a wildcard spot. The next few weeks feature a handful of matchups against teams also competing for a wildcard, but there's still debate whether or not the O's should even consider themselves contenders.

The Rays find themselves in a much better situation. In a year where many counted out Tampa Bay, the Rays put themselves in a position to make the postseason. They currently sit 3.5 games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox with a 51-48 record. Compared to Boston and New York, the Rays remain a heavy underdog, but they remain in the race for a division title or wildcard spot.

Last Meeting: These teams met in the beginning of July. Since then the Orioles have not played anyone in the AL East. The Rays started that series with an extra inning comeback win and followed it up with a blowout. The O's salvaged a win in the last game but dropped the series in disappointing fashion. With ten games left between the two teams, the O's lead the season series 5-4.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Monday, July 24, 7:10 pm – Kevin Gausman (6-7, 6.11 ERA) vs Blake Snell (0-5, 4.98 ERA)

Game 2: Tuesday, July 25, 7:10 pm – Wade Miley (4-8, 5.58 ERA) vs Jacob Faria (4-1, 2.52 ERA)

Game 3: Wednesday, July 26, 12:10 pm – Ubaldo Jimenez (4-6, 7.19 ERA) vs Alex Cobb (8-6, 3.57 ERA)

Notes on the Rays:

  • Corey Dickerson has been a threat all season for the Rays, making him a player to look out for in this series. The left fielder is hitting .290 against the O's this year with two home runs.
  • Rookie pitcher Jacob Faria has produced great starts for the Rays after Matt Andriese hit the disabled list. In eight starts, Faria holds a 4-1 record and a 2.52 ERA. Both of his starts against the O's have resulted in a no decision.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Second baseman Jonathan Schoop has not lost any steam since becoming the Orioles only 2017 All-Star. Schoop is batting .368 with three home runs and 15 RBI's since the mid-season break.
  • Zach Britton picked up his first save since April in Sunday's game against the Astros. It also marked his 55th consecutive save which is the second longest streak in MLB history. Eric Gagne comfortably holds the longest streak after collecting 84 saves in just under two seasons with the Dodgers.
  • Just last week we talked about the Orioles officially becoming sellers as the trade deadline approaches. Many sources had reported that the O's were looking to deal their late inning relievers and a few other position players. However, Dan Duquette stated this weekend that he would like to buy more pitchers at the deadline to compete for a wildcard spot. The conflicting information leaves many fans confused, but we will have our answers by the end of the week.

Up Next: After sweeping the Rangers in four games last week, the Orioles stay on the road this weekend for another series against Texas. I'm intrigued to see if the offense continues their hot streak against the Texas pitching staff.

Image Credit: Camden Chat

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