Here we go kids. The Rays will start a six game home stand tonight, with a very important three game series against the Baltimore Orioles. The good guys find themselves with a 55-50 record, five games over .500, and tied for second place in the AL East with, you guessed it, the Baltimore Orioles. Tampa Bay also finds itself in a three way tie for the last wildcard spot with the Tigers, and, you guessed it, the Baltimore Orioles. Hence the important nature of this series. I digress.
The Rays took two out of three from the Orioles a week and a half ago, so the O’s are looking for redemption. The Rays, in turn, look to assert their dominance. Tampa Bay is 5-4 in the season series thus far against Baltimore.
Below are some pieces of fat to chew on entering this important series. If the Rays take at least two out of three from the Orioles again, they’ll find themselves with sole possession of second place in the East. They could also find themselves with sole possession of the second wildcard spot, depending on whether the Tigers drop a few, and the Angels and A’s continue to sputter. All things told, this should be a very fun series!
It Bears Mentioning…
- The Rays have the same record through 105 games as they did in 2011, when they made their third playoff appearance in four years. However, their chances of making the playoffs are much more in their favor this year than they were last year.
- Tampa Bay is 4-1 in their last five games overall, 7-3 in their last 10 home games against a team with a winning record, and 4-1 in Moore’s last five home starts.
- The Rays are 6-4 in their last 10 games, 28-25 at home this season, and they are 6.5 games behind the Yankees in the division. The Orioles, on the other hand, are 4-6 in their last 10 games, 30-24 on the road, and they are tied with the Rays in the division standings and the Wildcard.
- the Rays pitching staff has an ERA of 3.49 with the starters at 3.64 and the bullpen at 3.17, where as the Orioles pitching staff has an ERA of 4.23 with the starters at 4.81 and the bullpen at 3.22.
- Following a lackluster first half of the season, rookie LHP Matt Moore has gone 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his last three starts.
- Utility infielder Will Rhymes Rhymes has been recalled from Triple-A Durham, filling the spot vacated by Brooks Conrad. Posting a .300 BA/.417 OBP/.550 SLG/.967 OPS line, with a homer, a triple, an RBI, four runs, and four walks, Rhymes has been a beast in the month of July. He’s also put up a .368 BA in his last 10 games. I’d love to see Wrigley or Anderson get the call, but I suspect they may be with the Rays in September when they expand the roster.
- As DRaysBay put it, “With both Tampa Bay and Baltimore sitting 1.5 games out of the wild card, it’s fair to say that this upcoming series is the most important the two teams have ever played against each other.”