O's game blog: O's-TB Rays begin matchup of AL's two-best records

After a 10-game road trip to Detroit, Kansas City and Atlanta where the Orioles went 6-4, the club returns home tonight to take on American League East leading Tampa Bay. The Rays (28-7) have the best record in the majors, playing .800 ball and lead the Orioles by 5.5 games atop the division.

The Orioles (22-12), after losing two of three in Atlanta, have a .647 win percentage that would have them in first place in four of the other five divisions in MLB. Tonight they open a 10-game homestand with three against Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh followed by a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels.

The Orioles have played 62 percent of their games so far on the road, going 9-4 at home and 13-8 away from Oriole Park. The Orioles are 3-1 in home series, losing one to the Yankees and winning the others versus Oakland, Detroit and Boston. The Orioles are 6-1 in their last seven games at Camden Yards.

The best overall records in MLB right now:

.800 – Tampa Bay (28-7)

.686 – Atlanta (24-11)

.647 – Orioles (22-12)

.606 – Texas (20-13)

According to STATS, the 2023 Rays have produced one of the best starts during the World Series era, with all teams having the same start or better all making the World Series.

MLB, best record through 35 games, since 1903:

1984 - Detroit Tigers .857 (30-5), Won World Series

* 1912 - New York Giants .824 (28-6-1), Lost World Series

* 2023 - Tampa Bay Rays .800 (28-7), TBD

* 1939 - New York Yankees .800 (28-7), Won World Series

* 1928 - New York Yankees .800 (28-7), Won World Series

Tampa Bay’s remarkable start has produced a plus-115 run differential, easily the best in the majors. The second-best is Texas at plus-85 and third is Atlanta at plus-56.

Interestingly enough, the Orioles won the RD battle in each series against Texas (11-7) and Atlanta (15-12).

The Rays started this year by going 13-0 and while they have slowed a bit since then, they are 15-7 since that point. They just took two of three versus the Yankees and have won five of six and eight of their past 10 games. Tampa Bay is 19-3 at home and 9-4 on the road. The Rays are 7-3 in division games, going 4-0 against Boston, 1-2 versus Toronto and 2-1 against New York.

Tampa Bay has statistically, the best offense and pitching in MLB. The Rays rank first in the majors in team batting average (.276), OBP (.348) slugging (.521) and OPS (.869). They lead the majors with 71 homers but do rank second to Texas in runs per game at 6.43 with Texas at 6.70.

The Rays rank first in the AL and MLB in team pitching ERA at 3.01. They rank first in the majors in rotation ERA at 2.93 and third in bullpen ERA at 3.10, just ahead of the Orioles, who are fourth in MLB in ‘pen ERA at 3.20.

The Orioles on offense rank sixth in the AL in batting average (.255), tied for fourth in OBP (.336), fourth in slugging (.423) and fourth in OPS at (.758). They have scored 5.47 runs per game to rank fourth.

Right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-1, 4.61 ERA) will tonight make his eighth start for Baltimore. Gibson allowed six runs in 6 2/3 during the K.C. series and has allowed nine earned runs in 11 innings in his past two games. But overall, he has a staff-leading three quality starts and has gone six innings or more four times.

Gibson is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA at home. Per STATS, Gibson is only the fifth pitcher to throw six or more innings allowing one or zero runs in his first two home starts with the club. The others to do that include Dave Johnson (1989), Rick Sutcliffe (1992) and Jason Hammel (2012). The only pitcher to do this three times was Joe Coleman in 1954, the first year the Orioles played in Baltimore.

Gibson is 6-5 with a 4.35 ERA in 13 career games (12 starts) against Tampa Bay, allowing a .274 average and .726 OPS.

Lefty Shane McClanahan (6-0, 2.03 ERA) will make his eighth start for the Rays, who are 7-0 in the first seven. The 26-year-old Baltimore native has a 1.100 WHIP, allowing 0.9 homers per nine with a 3.6 walks per nine rate and 11.5 strikeouts per nine rate. He has allowed two earned runs or less in all seven of his outings and has five quality starts, just two shy of the total of the entire O’s rotation. In seven games in his career versus Baltimore, he is 5-0 with a 2.45 ERA.  



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