Happy weekend, Birdland! Our Orioles come back home following a frustrating three-game road trip in New York. Meeting the O’s in Baltimore will be the A.L.-East-leading Tampa Bay Rays.
Anytime you face the Rays, it’s going to be a tough series, especially if you’re the Orioles. In nine matchups so far this year, the Birds have come out victorious in only one of those games. The Rays are bringing back a familiar face in Nelson Cruz to Camden Yards, and we all know how deadly that bat can be in this small stadium.
Luckily for the Orioles, this series will start with John Means on the mound. The Rays have actually gotten to Means this year, being the team to record the first and second most runs against him this year. Behind No. 47 will be Spenser Watkins in game two and Jorge López in game three.
Facing the Orioles will be Ryan Yarbrough, Shane McClanahan, and Michael Wacha. The rotation for the Rays looks a little different, after the loss to injury of Tyler Glasnow and Rich Hill being shipped off to the Mets.
Without further ado, let’s check out your Baltimore Battery ❌-Factors for this series!
This one may seem a little odd, but my first ❌-Factor is actually the Rays’ game one starter, Ryan Yarbrough. Yarbrough is definitely one of the more underrated arms in the league; however, if you look at his stats against the Orioles, you wouldn’t know it. In four games this year, the Orioles have scored 13 runs against Yarbrough, including four home runs. The main benefactor of Yarbrough being on the mound is Trey Mancini. Mancini is 6-for-8 against him this year, with a double, three home runs, and seven RBI! Look for Mancini to come out aggressive in game one and set the tone early. After Mancini, Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays have had great success against the Rays’ left-hander this year.
My second ❌-Factor in this series will be Means, Watkins, and López. The Rays have one of the better runs scored per game, and a big part of that comes off teams’ bullpens. The Orioles bullpen, especially as of late, can be batting practice for this offense. We saw this in the previous series against the Rays back in July. These three starters MUST go deep into these ballgames. Ideally, we would like to see at least six innings from each of these three. Preserving the bullpen in the sense that Hyde can be more selective with the arms coming in will make or break this series. If Hyde is forced to go to the pen early and cannot create favorable matchups, this series will be over before it starts. This is what happened last series in New York, and we lost the last ballgame because of a bullpen that should not have had to been used the way it was.
This is going to be a tough series for the Orioles, and a win or two here would complicate things for the Rays in the A.L. East. That being said, I would rather see the Rays keep the division lead over the Red Sox, but Oriole wins are far more important!
How do you feel about this series? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our podcast, The Walk-Off, on YouTube and Spotify! And, make sure to use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!
Follow Justin on Twitter – @orioles4life96