The Orioles offense has been putting up some impressive numbers since the All-Star break and we’ll see if that can continue as the team opens a three-game series tonight in St. Petersburg against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Orioles have basically gone from having an offense that was about the worst in the American League before the break to one of the best after. Before the break, the Orioles averaged 3.6 runs per game. Since the break they have scored 6.2 per game.
O’s pre-break: A .227 team average, .290 OBP and .379 slugging percentage
O’s post-break: A .300 team average, .356 OBP and .499 slugging percentage.
The O’s ranked 15th (that’s last place) in the American League in average and OBP and 14th in slugging before the All-Star game. Since then, they rank first in all three categories. The Orioles’ 26 homers rank tied for second in the league.
Tonight they face a Tampa Bay team that they hit very well during a series in Baltimore in which the Orioles won the last three of a four-game set from July 26 through July 29. The O’s won those three by scores of 15-5, 11-2 and 11-5, scoring double-digit runs for three straight games for the first time since June 26-29, 2016.
Those three contests produced 37 runs on 45 hits, with six doubles and eight homers and a batting average with runners in scoring position of .421 at 16-for-38.
The Orioles have scored 90 runs in going 7-6 against Tampa Bay this year. That is an average of 6.9 per game. The Orioles are 13-12 this season in the division against the Rays and Yankees, but just 3-19 combined against the Blue Jays and Red Sox.
The Orioles (34-78) beat the Rangers on Sunday and are 2-4 on this road trip. They have won just two of their past 15 road games. But they are 6-5 over their past 11 games. Tampa Bay (56-56) just lost three straight to the White Sox over the weekend, losing each game by one run. The Rays, who have lost six of their past nine, are 32-23 at home.
O’s outfielder Joey Rickard is 10-for-23 with three homers and 13 RBIs in six games this season versus Tampa Bay, the team that drafted him in round nine in 2012. Rickard is batting .435/.480/.957 against the Rays. Adam Jones is batting .408 (20-for-49) in the season series with two homers and nine RBIs.
Right-hander Alex Cobb (3-14, 5.83 ERA) gave up one run in six innings last Wednesday to get a win against the Yankees in New York and gain his first victory since June 5. Over his last four starts Cobb has three quality starts and a 2.70 ERA to drop his season ERA to its present level from 6.67. In three starts against his former Rays team this year, he is 0-3 with a 6.06 ERA.
Right-hander Tyler Glasnow (1-2, 4.27 ERA) will make his second start for his new team tonight. On July 31 he went from Pittsburgh to Tampa Bay in the trade that sent Chris Archer to the National League. On Aug. 1 Glasnow, who had been pitching in relief for the Pirates, started for the Rays. Over three innings against the Angels he gave up one run. In 18 career starts, Glasnow is 2-9 with a 7.07 ERA.
Glasnow was ranked for four straight years (2014-17) as a top 50 national prospect by Baseball America. He was No. 14 at the end of the 2015 season and No. 16 following the 2014 season.
The Orioles’ Triple-A Norfolk team is 59-52 and leading in the race for the International League’s wild-card berth by one game over Scranton, and those teams begin a series tonight. Right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis (3-4, 3.90 ERA) pitches for the Tides. There are four teams within 1 1/2 games for that IL wild-card spot. Norfolk is looking for its first playoff berth since 2015.
Since joining the Tides from Double-A Bowie on July 18, right-hander Lucas Long has gone 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in five games with two starts. Long has limited International League batters to a .237 average, striking out 11 and issuing just two walks over 16 innings.