O’s game blog: O’s face AL East-leading Tampa Bay

The Orioles (7-10) begin the second stop on their two-city road trip tonight when they play the Tampa Bay Rays (12-4) at Tropicana Field. The Orioles went 2-2 at Boston and open a three-game series tonight.

The Rays are the only team in the American League East at .500 or better, with every other team at least three games under .500. Tampa Bay’s division lead is 5 1/2 games over the Orioles and New York Yankees (6-9). The Rays have held a divisional lead this large in only two previous seasons in club history, and they won the AL East both times (2008, 2010). Tampa Bay owns the majors’ best record since the 2018 All-Star break (53-29) and since the start of last August (48-23).

The Rays have won five of five series, going 3-1 versus Houston, 2-1 versus Colorado, 2-1 at San Francisco, 3-0 at Chicago against the White Sox and 2-1 at Toronto. Tampa Bay’s recent nine-game, 11-day road trip covered three time zones and 5,785 air miles. And they went 7-2.

Over the last five games, the Rays have scored 39 runs. The Rays have already posted two five-game win streaks and their 12-4 record is its best mark since going 12-4 to begin the 2010 season.

The Rays went 11-8 against the Orioles in 2018, which included a 7-2 record at home and 4-6 at Camden Yards. Tampa won five of the final six meetings, including a three-game sweep at Tropicana Field from Sept. 7-9. For the second consecutive year, the Rays won the season series after losing the previous three. The Rays allowed 34 homers in the season series, their most ever against a single opponent. Tampa Bay outscored the Orioles 58-28 at home, but was outscored 84-51 and outhomered 25-10 in the 10 games in Baltimore. The 84 runs and 25 homers allowed there were both their most all-time for a single season at a visiting venue.

Right-hander Dylan Bundy (0-1, 8.76 ERA) will make his fourth start for the Orioles. Over 12 1/3 innings, he has allowed 15 hits and 12 runs, including six homers, with seven walks and 17 strikeouts. In 10 career games against Tampa Bay, Bundy is 3-4 with a 6.30 ERA and 1.440 WHIP and has allowed 3.4 homers per nine innings.

Right-hander Tyler Glasnow (3-0, 0.53 ERA) allowed a run in his first inning of this year and now has thrown 16 consecutive scoreless innings. He has walked three and fanned 24 over 17 innings in his three starts with a WHIP of 0.824. Glasnow has thrown his four-seam fastball 65 percent of the time, averaging 97.1 mph.

Farm notes: Heading into tonight’s games, the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds have the best winning percentage in the minors at .900 with a 9-1 start. Delmarva is 5-0 at home and has won seven in a row.

Delmarva’s pitchers have worked to an ERA of 2.81 to rank fourth in the South Atlantic League and Shorebirds hurlers average 12.8 strikeouts per nine innings. Delmarva starting pitchers are 3-0 with a 2.94 ERA and the Shorebirds ‘pen is 6-1 with a 2.66 ERA. Catcher Daniel Fajardo has thrown out five of eight trying to steal.

Single-A Frederick infielder Mason McCoy is batting .457 (21-for-46) with four doubles, a homer, 13 RBIs and a 1.099 OPS. Double-A Bowie’s bullpen has worked to an ERA of 0.56 over its last 16 innings. A year after leading the Triple-A Norfolk pitching staff with 105 strikeouts, righty Matt Wotherspoon has registered 13 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings over his first four relief appearances this season. Wotherspoon has gone 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his four games of 2019.

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