Series Preview: Orioles end 2017 season in Tampa against Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — For the first time since 2011, the Baltimore Orioles will end a season with a losing record. Improvement is needed on both offense and defense in order for the O’s to compete in 2018. Before the front office begins the offseason process, the club travels to St. Petersburg for a three-game weekend series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Both teams will end the season with losing records, making this series worthless. This provides Buck Showalter and the front office a chance to look at some players who could help the team in the future. However, both Showalter and general manager Dan Duquette have one more year left on their contracts, leaving the future of the Orioles uncertain.

As far as the media knows, no significant contract discussions between the Orioles and Showalter/Duquette have taken place. With time winding down on Duquette and Showalter’s deals, the Orioles’ ownership needs to make a decision soon about what direction they want to go in. With Showalter’s age and Duquette’s questionable decisions in recent memory, fans anxiously wait on what then organization’s decision will entail.

Coming into this series, the Orioles suffered a two-game sweep at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Tuesday through Thursday, the Rays dropped two of three to the Yankees in the bronx. Baltimore received their second off-day of the week of Thursday, Tampa had Monday off.

Last Meeting: Last weekend at Camden Yards, the Orioles and Rays split a four-game series in what marked the last series at home for the 2017 Orioles.

In the first game, Gabriel Ynoa pitched eight innings, allowing one run, five hits, and two walks with three strikeouts. Ynoa’s effort led to Baltimore’s 3-1 win.

After dropping the next two games, the O’s rebounded in the Sunday series finale with a 9-4 win. Four Orioles picked up two RBI on the day – Adam Jones (2-run double), Chris Davis (RBI single, RBI groundout), J.J. Hardy (2-run home run), and Chance Sisco (2-run homer). Pedro Alvarez brought in the last one on an RBI single.

During the game, Hardy received a standing ovation from the crowd, as Sunday could have been the final home game in Baltimore for the 35-year-old shortstop. Hardy’s contract expires after the season, and earlier this season the Birds traded for Tim Beckham, who is expected to take over at shortstop next season.

Season Series: The season series between Baltimore and Tampa Bay is tied, 8-8. At Tropicana field, the O’s possess a 3-3 record.

MLB Playoff Picture (As of Sept .29)

Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 10.42.22 AM.png

Image Credit: MLB

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Friday, Sept. 29, 7:10 pm – Wade Miley (8-14, 5.52 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (10-8, 4.26 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Saturday, Sept. 30, 6:10 pm – Miguel Castro (3-2, 3.29 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (9-12, 4.18 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 1, 3:10 pm – Kevin Gausman (11-11, 4.81 ERA) vs. Blake Snell (4-7, 4.27 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Saturday will be Castro’s first MLB start.
  • In 66 at-bats against the Rays this season, Jones sports a .318 average with 21 hits, five doubles, three home runs, and seven RBI. Jones sat out both games against the Pirates to nurse some nagging injuries, and it remains to be seen if he plays this weekend. Austin Hays has been filling out in centerfield for Jones.
  • In six appearances against Tampa this season, Brad Brach has allowed one run on six hits, four walks, and seven strikeouts, with a 1.13 ERA.
  • The Orioles’ record in September is 7-18 (.280), by far their worst month of the 2017 season.

Notes on the Rays:

  • Against Baltimore this season, Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison both own four home runs. Longoria has 39 career home runs against the O’s, which is more than any other team Longoria has faced. The Yankees (35) are next.
  • Steven Souza Jr.’s 177 strikeouts ranks seventh in the MLB, with Davis (188) coming in fourth. Aaron Judge (204) leads the majors.
  • Archer’s 243 strikeouts ranks fourth in MLB. Only Chris Sale (Red Sox, 308), Max Scherzer (Nationals, 263), and Corey Kluber (Indians, 262) lead him.

Featured Image Credit: The Baltimore Wire

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