With a series-opening win against Tampa Bay under their belts, the Orioles look to make it two in a row tonight to open this four-game series. And they start tonight behind a pitcher on a real roll.
The Orioles (59-37) beat the Rays (60-40) 4-3 in 10 innings in the opener of the series. Colton Cowser’s sac fly to left on an 0-2 pitch scored the go-ahead run in the 10th. And then right-hander Félix Bautista put up a zero to get the win in the last of the 10th. Bautista, pitching for the second day in a row, needed just 15 pitches to get six outs in the victory.
The Orioles are in first place for the first time after 95 games of a season since Aug. 15, 2016. Until last night, the Rays had been in first place (or tied for the lead) in the American League East for the entire season.
The win means the Orioles have now gone 71 straight series without being swept. Baltimore is now 29-17 on the road, 6-5 in extra-inning games, 11-5 in July, 21-11 in series-opening games and 17-9 in one-run games.
The Orioles have now won 10 of their past 12 games, outscoring opponents 79-44 in that span.
The Orioles went 2-for-4 batting with runners in scoring position in the win. Over their past 12 games, they are batting .383 with RISP (41-107). They have moved to fourth in the AL in team batting average with RISP at .277, and second in team OPS at .830.
The Orioles’ three-run rally in the fourth started with a Gunnar Henderson triple. It was the team’s fourth triple in the last eight games. They have 17 for the year to rank third-best in the AL.
The Orioles are 4-2 this season versus the Rays and 2-1 at the Trop. They are 13-9 in their past 22 games between these teams dating to last April. For the season, both the Orioles and Rays are 17-11 (.607) in games within the AL East.
AL East versus AL East:
.607 – Orioles and Rays, 17-11
.593 – Boston, 16-11
.433 – New York, 13-17
.259 – Toronto, 7-20
Tampa Bay has scored just 13 runs during a five-game losing streak. They are 3-12 the last 15 games and 31-33 the past 64 games.
On the mound tonight, right-hander Kyle Bradish (6-4, 3.05 ERA) gets the ball for the Orioles. He comes up a few innings short of qualifying for AL leaders or his ERA would rank eighth-best in the league.
Bradish has put together back-to-back scoreless starts over 13 1/3 innings against the Yankees and Marlins. His scoreless-innings streak has reached 15 1/3, his most since 16 straight scoreless late last season. Over his past three starts he has allowed one run in 19 1/3 for an ERA of 0.47 and .483 OPS. He has now thrown six career scoreless starts of six innings or more.
Over his past six games – all quality starts – Bradish is 4-2 with a 1.41 ERA with eight walks to 36 strikeouts over 38 1/3. In that span he gives up a .172 batting average and .496 OPS.
The Orioles are 11-6 in his 17 starts in the 2023 season.
Righty Zach Eflin (10-5, 3.59 ERA), will start for Tampa Bay, making his 19th start. The Rays are 13-5 in the first 18. He gave up five runs in three innings in his last start, against Kansas City, but his ERA was 3.19 the five starts before that.
Eflin has reverse splits, with lefty batters showing a .564 OPS against him and right-handers at .720. In 10 home starts he is 9-1 with a 2.34 ERA and 0.843 WHIP. He allowed four runs in six innings against the Orioles on May 9 at Oriole Park. And, in three career starts, is 1-2 with a 4.74 ERA against Baltimore batters.