O's game blog: Looking for a four-game sweep at the Trop

The surging Orioles can complete a four-game sweep of the Rays tonight at Tropicana Field. If they get the sweep, it will be their fifth sweep of the year of at least three games. They are also looking for their second four-game sweep in the last five series.

The Orioles (42-22) begin play tonight 2.5 games back of the Yankees (46-21). New York begins a seven-game road trip tonight with the start of a four-game series at Kansas City.

The Orioles have wins by 6-3, 5-0 and 9-2 this series, outscoring Tampa Bay 20-5. The team has won three in a row, eight of 11 and 13 of its past 17 games.

They previously had three games sweeps at Boston April 9-11, versus Minnesota April 15-17 and at Cincinnati May 3-5. They took four in a row in Chicago against the White Sox from May 23-26.

The Orioles are 20-10 in road games. With a series victory secured this series, they are now 14-4-3 in series play for the season and are 6-2-2 in road series.

Tampa Bay (31-34) is 17-21 at home and 10-16 versus the American League East.

The Rays are 6-12 in their last 18 contests after posting an 11-4 mark in their previous 15 from May 3-18. They have fallen a season-high 14 games back in the AL East standings, their largest deficit since entering play on Aug. 4, 2022 (14 out).

They are in last place in the division after the calendar flips to June for the first time since the conclusion of the 2016 campaign. The Rays are 0-3 so far during a stretch of 19 games in 20 days from June 7-26.

The Rays did not record a baserunner through five innings for the second time this season in yesterday's loss, joining May 26 vs. K.C. They allowed three triples, tying the club record from April 5, 2003 against the Yankees.

Tampa Bay has yet to hold a lead this series. The club has led entering the seventh inning just twice in its last 19 games, both coming from June 4-5 at Miami. The Rays have trailed by 3+ runs at some point in six of their last seven games.

Tampa Bay is 1-9 in their last 10 games against AL East opponents after a 9-7 start. And they are 3-10 versus division rivals at Tropicana Field, losing seven straight since their last win on May 11 against New York. 

The Orioles had seven extra-base hits Sunday, including Adley Rutschman's second-career grand slam. He drove in a career-best six runs. Over his last 16 games, he has 21 RBIs and is batting .333/.375/.530/.905.

In the past 17 games, the Orioles have scored 102 runs or 6.0 per game. In this span they have hit .270, slugged .507 and produced an OPS of .844 with 33 homers in this time.

At 16-6 in the AL East, the Orioles are playing .727 baseball within the division. A team playing at that pace for 162 games would win 118. 

The Orioles are 5-1 against the Rays and Red Sox, 3-1 against the Yankees and 3-3 against Toronto.

Right-hander Corbin Burnes (6-2, 2.26 ERA) will make his 14th start tonight. Burnes has thrown eight straight quality starts, going 3-2 with a 1.97 ERA in that span. Over his last five starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.41 ERA.

In the AL stats, he ranks tied for third in quality starts (10), fourth in OPS against (.565), fifth in ERA, tied for fifth in pitches per game (94.8), eighth in WHIP (1.017), and tied for ninth in innings (79 2/3).

Righty Ryan Pepiot (4-2, 3.96 ERA) starts for the home team, making his 11th start. Over 52 1/3 innings he has allowed 34 hits with a 0.955 WHIP and 10.1 K rate. The Rays are 6-4 in his games and he has never faced the Orioles.  

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