To show how different the 2022 season is from 2021 for the Orioles we could list several stats and facts. But here is a good one: The 2021 Orioles won one game against the Tampa Bay Rays all year. The 2022 Orioles could win their third series against the Rays this season if they win today at Tropicana Field.
And while the Orioles went 0-3 in the first series of the year at the Trop, they are 5-3 against the Rays since being swept in St. Pete in early April. They took two of three from Tampa Bay May 20-22 in Baltimore and did that again June 17-19 at Camden Yards. After Saturday’s win, they will be 2-1 this series with another win today against the Rays.
The Orioles ended a 10-game losing streak versus the Rays at Tropicana Field with Saturday’s 6-4 win in 11 innings on Ryan Mountcastle’s two-run single in the 11th. The O’s trailed 3-1 to the fifth inning, but then Tyler Nevin’s single brought then within 3-2. Adley Rutschman’s first career pinch-hit home run tied the game in the eighth and the clubs each scored once in the 10th. The Rays had the tying runs on base in the last of the 11th, but Cionel Pérez got the second out of the inning and Joey Krehbiel the third as the Orioles won for the 11th time in the last 12 games.
Maybe they started another win streak.
The Orioles are now 16-20 (.444) in games versus American League East teams. They are 5-6 against Tampa Bay. The O’s are 5-3 in their past eight games within the division and 12-9 over the last 21. They are 3-1-1 in their past five AL East series and can add one to that today.
Last season, the O’s went a combined 7-31 versus Tampa Bay and Boston. This season they are a combined 10-9 against the Rays and Red Sox.
The Orioles are 5-3 their last eight games against Tampa Bay after going 3-27 in the previous 30. They have lost 13 straight road series to the Rays heading into today’s rubber match game. So they ended a losing streak at the Trop Saturday and could end a series losing streak there today.
The Birds have won 16 of 22 games and 22 of the past 32. They are 32-21 since May 19 and 39-31 since May 1. The O’s win Saturday improved their record to 12-10 in games decided by two runs, and they are 27-26 in games decided by one or two runs.
Right-hander Jordan Lyles (6-7, 4.37 ERA) will start the final game before the All-Star break. Lyles, who has thrown 105 innings (11th most in AL) - which is 19 2/3 more than any other Oriole - will be making his 19th start. He has a 1.381 WHIP on the year with a 2.7 walk rate and 7.4 strikeout rate.
Lyles has allowed two earned runs or fewer in three straight and four of his past five starts. His is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA his past three starts and 2-2 with a 2.76 ERA his last five. In that span, he has walked eight and fanned 24 in 32 2/3 innings while allowing a .220 batting average against and .623 OPS.
Lyles has thrown 100 or more pitches in each of his last four starts, throwing 111, 100, 104 and 101 in his most recent start. He has thrown 100 or more seven times this year.
Righty Corey Kluber (5-5, 3.58 ERA), the AL Cy Young winner in 2014 and 2017 with Cleveland, will make his 18th start for Tampa Bay. Kluber has allowed 82 hits over 88 innings with 1.091 WHIP and a 1.4 walk rate and 8.1 K rate. The Rays are 9-8 in his starts and 6-3 over his last nine.
Like Lyles, he is pitching well lately, allowing two earned runs or fewer in two straight and five of his past six games. Kluber has allowed two runs in 12 innings his last two outings, both against Boston. Over his past six starts, he has an ERA of 3.06, with five walks to 28 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings. In that span, opponent batters hit .221 with a .627 OPS against him.