The Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles will begin a three-game series Tuesday night at Tropicana Field. The Rays are holding onto postseason aspirations by a thread after a disappointing series loss to the White Sox, while the Orioles are still a lot of games under .500. Still, Baltimore won the last three meetings against Tampa Bay a week-and-a-half ago.
Tampa Bay bounced back from a series loss against the Orioles by sweeping the Los Angeles Angels. Yet whatever momentum the team generated from the series win was for not, as the White Sox silenced the Rays over a dismal, three-game weekend series. The Orioles didn’t fare much better this weekend past, dropping three of four against the Rangers. They enter the Trop with a 14-43 road record.
Chicago’s success against Tampa Bay was due, in part, to the pitching staff leaning heavily on secondary offerings. And while the Rays put a lot of runners on the base paths, they couldn’t bring them in, going 6-29 with runners in scoring position — good for a .207 wRISP batting average. In contrast, Baltimore maintained its productive hitting against Texas, yet the hurlers couldn’t slow down the Rangers. The Rays hope for a similar outcome from the Orioles pitching staff, lest they continue their backslide toward irrelevancy.
Kevin Cash will lean on Tyler Glasnow (0-0, 3.00 ERA), likely Jalen Beeks (1-0, 10.80 ERA), and a pitcher to be named before the series finale on Thursday. Buck Showalter will counter with Alex Cobb (3-14, 5.84 ERA), Andrew Cashner (3-10, 5.05 ERA), and David Hess (2-6, 6.44 ERA).
Tyler Glasnow was impressive in his debut with the Rays, throwing three innings of one-run ball on 48 pitches (34 strikes, 71% strike rate, 21% SwStr rate). Glasnow allowed two hits (including a solo home run), one walk, and struck out five.
Fastball, curveball, slider today, I had a good feel for things, Glasnow said following the Rays’ win. I felt relaxed out there. Overall, the feel in this clubhouse is really good. It’s relaxed, it’s friendly.
Rays manager Kevin Cash had nothing but superlatives for the right-hander, saying,
Probably not going to (throw 70 percent strikes) all of the time. But a great start. If he’s featuring that kind of stuff at a 70 percent clip in the zone, he’s going to have a special career.
On Glasnow’s repertoire … The right-hander threw 24 of 35 four-seam fastballs for strikes (five whiffs), averaging 97.6 mph (and topping out at 99.5 mph); 3 of 5 sliders for strikes (1 whiff); and 7 of 8 curveballs for strikes (1 whiff). He was able to move his fastball all over the zone at will and played his off-speed stuff off of his heater.
The only real criticism for Glasnow, is that he left a fair number of hanging breaking pitches in hittable locations. One of those very hittable offerings was a 0-2 curveball that flattened out over the heart of the plate and was consequently hit into the Rays tank — thanks a lot, Kole Calhoun. Otherwise, it was an excellent introduction to the flame-throwing right-hander, who should have a longer leash his next time out.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said the goal is to get Glasnow through four innings as he continues to stretch out his arm.
Alex Cobb allowed one run on seven hits while fanning six across six innings as he secured his third victory of the season on Wednesday. The former Ray has turned it around on the hill of late, this despite a 5.83 ERA and 1.54 WHIP through 109-2/3 frames this season. Cobb has now surrendered seven runs over 23-1/3 innings (four starts) while recording 15 punch outs. Tampa Bay was able to get to the right-hander again on July 26, tagging him for four runs (three earned) on eight hits over six innings of work. Key Matchups: Jake Bauers (1-3, RBI), Ji-Man Choi (2-3, 2B, RBI), Kevin Kiermaier (1-3, 2B), Michael Perez (1-2, 2B), Mallex Smith (3-5, 2B, BB), Joey Wendle (4-8, 2 RBI)
Jalen Beeks allowed two earned runs on two hits and a walk over five innings on Thursday. He struck out four. Beeks didn’t exactly set a high bar in his debut against the Orioles on July 28th, allowing eight earned runs on 10 hits and three walks over 3-1/3 innings. Yet the southpaw looked considerably more composed over an efficient 71 pitches (47 strikes, 66% strike rate, 13/18 first-pitch strikes) Thursday, limiting the damage after Hunter Wood had been stellar over the first two innings as the opener. The key to Beeks’ bounce back success was two-fold: he got ahead of batters, and remained calm when things appeared like they might spiral out of control. He figures to be utilized in similar fashion Wednesday, with his ability to pitch multiple innings makes him a natural for the second-man-in role on “bullpen days.”
Andrew Cashner allowed 10 earned runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out one across just 1-2/3 innings in a loss on Thursday against the Rangers. Cashner only allowed one home run, yet five consecutive Rangers reached base in the second inning before he was chased from the game. Cashner had pitched well over a 52-inning stretch prior to Thursday’s game, performing to a 3.46 ERA and 1.29 WHIP — although he only managed 31 strikeouts. In that stretch, the right-hander limited the Rays to two runs on five hits and three walks over six innings of work back on the 27th. Key Matchups: Jake Bauers (1-3), CJ Cron (3-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB), Matt Duffy (4-16, 3B, RBI, 2 BB), Kevin Kiermaier (2-3), Michael Perez (1-2), Joey Wendle (2-5, 3B, RBI, BB)
I will update things when a starter in Thursday’s game is announced.
David Hess coughed up seven runs (five earned) on five hits and a walk over 3-1/3 innings while striking out four Rangers. While some shitty defense helped deflect the blow to Hess’s ratios, most of it was by the pitcher himself, as he committed two of the Orioles three errors on the night. Hess has split his time out of the ‘pen and the rotation this season, although a lack of arms necessitated the starter status. In three games against Tampa Bay, Hess is 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA … but, that over just 13-2/3 innings of work. Key Matchups: Matt Duffy (2-6, HR, 3 RBI), Joey Wendle (4-5, BB)
— Right-handed relief pitcher Chaz Roe threw live batting practice on Monday in Port Charlotte and hopes to begin a rehab assignment Thursday.
— UTL Daniel Robertson underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb Monday morning and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks, likely ending his season.
— OF Tommy Pham is feeling better after suffering a hairline fracture in his right foot last week, although he is still on the same 2-4 week timetable for his return.