The Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles will open a three-game series starting Tuesday night at the Trop. The Rays are coming off a 7-2 road trip across three different time zones, while the Orioles are 3-7 over their last 10 games.
The first-place Rays are averaging 4.67 runs per game (RPG), ranking them 16th in the Majors. However, that RPG average increases to 5.75 when you take their first four games — when they averaged 2.75 runs — out of the equation. What’s more, despite a few blips and bumps, Tampa Bay’s pitching staff continues to shine, sporting a Major League-best 2.44 team ERA/2.80 team FIP.
The Orioles are currently averaging a respectable 4.44 RPG, ranking them 19th in MLB, yet Baltimore’s pitching staff has performed to a Major League-worst 6.30 team ERA/6.72 team FIP. Be that as it may, the Orioles been competitive on the road where they own a 6-4 record on the season.
The Rays posted an 11-8 record against the Orioles in 2018. In an ideal world, they need to improve by at least two games this season over last.
Over the next three days Kevin Cash will lean on starter Tyler Glasnow (3-0, 0.53 ERA), and likely bulk inning guys Ryan Yarbrough (2-1, 4.82 ERA), and Yonny Chirinos (2-0, 4.40 ERA). The order which they will be used, however, is still up in the air. New skipper Brandon Hyde will respond with Dylan Bundy (0-1, 8.76 ERA), David Hess (1-2, 3.32 ERA), and Andrew Cashner (3-1, 5.31 ERA).
Tyler Glasnow earned the win against Chicago on Wednesday by fanning 11 and allowing just two hits and one walk across six scoreless innings. The right-hander’s only trouble came during the third inning when he had a pair of runners in scoring position with only one out, yet Glasnow struck out Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu to end the threat. He has enjoyed a dominant first three starts to the season with a 7/1 K/BB across 17 innings.
Dylan Bundy allowed six runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts over five innings of a loss to Oakland on Thursday. The eight punch outs were impressive, yet Bundy suffered thanks to the long-ball. In his last 8-2/3 innings, Bundy has served up six homers. He has also yielded 15 hits in 12-1/3 innings of work thus far. Bundy relies primarily on his 91 mph four-seam fastball that has good “rising” action and a whiffy 81 mph slider with two-plane movement, while also mixing in an 84 mph changeup. Over nine career starts against the Rays, the right-hander is 3-4 with a 6.30 ERA and is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA in four starts at the Trop. Key Matchups: Willy Adames (1-4), Avisail Garcia (4-7), Kevin Kiermaier (4-9, 2 HR, 6 RBI, BB), Micahel Perez (1-3)
Ryan Yarbrough picked up the win after tossing two scoreless frames and striking out one on Friday. The southpaw was efficient on the mound, needing just 16 total pitches (12 strikes) to get through six batters. Yarbrough was coming off a disastrous outing Saturday against San Francisco (allowing four runs allowed across three innings) but managed to get back on track in the 11-7 victory.
David Hess allowed three runs on six hits while striking out three over 5-2/3 innings on Friday. He took the loss against Boston. Hess allowed a solo homer in the third inning and two more runs in the fourth, while the Orioles were held scoreless until the seventh. The 25-year-old right-hander came within an out of a quality start and pitched well enough to come away with the win, although he didn’t get enough run support. Hess owns a 3.32 ERA with 15 strikeouts over 19 frames in three starts this season. Hess relies primarily on his 94 mph four-seam fastball with added backspin and an 83 mph fly-ball coaxing slider, while also mixing in an 85 mph changeup, and a 93 mph sinker with a little sink and arm-side run. He is 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA in four career starts against the Rays, and is 1-1 with a 2.60 ERA in three starts at the Trop. Key Matchups: Willy Adames (2-6, 2B), Ji-Man Choi (2-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB), Yandy Diaz (1-2, BB), Brandon Lowe (1-4, 2B), Tommy Pham (1-3, 3B)
Yonny Chirinos was bereft of quality stuff in his last outing against Toronto, allowing six earned runs on seven hits (including a homer) across 2-1/3 innings of work. This after the right-hander allowed just one run across his previous 12-1/3 innings of work, while striking out 11. Chirinos needs to keep his sinker down in the zone and allow his pitches, which boast a ton of movement, to play off the batters aggressiveness.
Andrew Cashner is going for his fourth straight win of the season, following his most recent victory on Saturday against Boston, when the right-hander allowed three runs on three hits and three walks across five innings of work. Cashner relies primarily on his 94 mph four-seam fastball and an 86 mph cutter with heavy sink and strong cutting action, while also mixing in an 84 mph changeup, a firm 81 mph curveball with slight glove-side movement, and a 92 mph two-seam sinker with little sinking action. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA in four career starts against the Rays, and 2-1 with a 3.46 ERA at Tropicana Field. Key Matchups: Guillermo Heredia (2-8, 2B, 2 BB), Kevin Kiermaier (2-6), Michael Perez (1-4, RBI), Daniel Robertson (3-4, 2B, RBI, BB)