After a disheartening series loss to the New York Yankees, the Orioles will host yet another AL East team, this time the Tampa Bay Rays.
Coming into the series at 47-48, the Orioles have a fair chance to end this four-game set back at .500 or above.
Looking to reach that mark on the mound for the Birds will be Austin Voth, Spenser Watkins, Tyler Wells and then finally, Jordan Lyles.
The O’s offense will certainly have their work cut out for them, as they will have to face two of the AL’s better pitchers in Shane McLanahan in game two and Drew Rasmussen in game three. Corey Kluber starts game one for the Rays, while their game four starter is TBA.
The offense really needs to get on track in this series, following a shutout loss in game three against the Yankees. Having to play their fourth straight game, it could be a reality that the bullpen needs a little extra help with the lack of off days.
Ramón Urías looks to continue his hot streak that has seen him hit safely in his last six games, with three of those being multi-hit games. Urías provided the insurance in game two against the Yankees with a monster home run over Mount Waltimore to bring his season OPS up to a .762.
Adley Rutschman is another bat that looks to stay hot for the O’s in this series. Rutschman is on a five-game hitting streak, recording a double in his last four games.
Speaking of Adley Rutschman, the young rookie phenom is The Baltimore Battery’s ❌-FACTOR this series.
Over his last 10 games, Rutschman is batting .375 with five RBIs and three walks. His OBP is at a .429 clip and sits at .394 in the month of July.
One of the key factors that will help catch fire with the lineup is taking advantage of scoring opportunities. Rutschman fits in well here, as he has a .738 OPS, which would rank fourth in the majors if he had enough qualified plate appearances.
The pitching staff has a 3.88 ERA with Rutschman behind the plate. Not to mention, the Orioles are 29-23 since the former No. 1 overall pick arrived in Baltimore.
If Rutschman has a strong series at the plate, as well as behind it, it could be the difference between a series win and/or split and loss.
Prior to today’s game, the Orioles made a roster move, optioning right-hander Rico Garcia back down to Triple-A Norfolk and recalling left-hander Nick Vespi from Norfolk.
Vespi still hasn’t allowed an earned run in 21.1 innings at Triple-A Norfolk, and he’s struck out 28 batters in his time there.
Game 1 Starting Lineup:
Game one of this four-game series begins tonight at 7:05 p.m. EST from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. You can catch each game on MASN or on your local Orioles Radio Network station.
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