O's game blog: The road trip begins

The last time they played the Tampa Bay Rays (19-11), the Orioles (14-14) completed a three-game sweep at Camden Yards. They beat Tampa Bay 6-3, 5-4 in 11 innings and 5-1.

Against a team playing .633 ball halfway through a 60-game season, O's pitchers recorded a three-game ERA of 1.86, held the Rays to a .190 batting average and produced 31 strikeouts while walking nine Rays batters.

But Tampa Bay has surged to challenge the New York Yankees at the top of the American League East. Since leaving Camden Yards, the Rays are 15-5. They are 7-2 over their past nine games and 13-3 in the last 16. They have gone 6-1 against the Yankees and 17-9 within the division.

As they get set to host the Orioles for three games beginning tonight, the Rays are 10-5 at home this year. And they are 25-7 in their past 32 home games since Aug. 21, 2019.

Against a team that has produced such numbers, the Orioles are 6-2 in the last eight games with Tampa Bay. They went 7-12 last year versus the Rays.

Thumbnail image for Milone-Throws-Black-Front-Opener-Sidebar.jpgLefty Tommy Milone (1-3, 4.13 ERA) tonight makes his sixth start. On Aug. 2 against Tampa Bay, he gave up one run and six hits with eight strikeouts over five innings. He is 3-4 with a 6.18 ERA in nine career games.

The Orioles have just three outings from starting pitchers of six innings or more and Milone has two of them. Milone has also not walked a batter over his past four starts. He has posted an ERA of 3.00 in those games, covering 21 innings with no walks and 20 strikeouts.

Right-hander Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 6.00 ERA) gets the ball for Tampa Bay. He pitched to an ERA of 3.12 in his first two starts. But in his past three games, he is 0-1 with an ERA of 8.03. But he has a strikeout rate of 15.00 per nine innings on the year with 35 strikeouts in 21 innings.

Glasnow went 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs, versus the Orioles on Aug. 1 at Oriole Park. In four career starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.99 ERA that includes three walks to 25 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.794 over 22 2/3 innings.

These are two of the best-hitting clubs in the AL. Tampa Bay is averaging 5.23 runs per game and ranks fourth in team OPS at .772. While the Rays batters strike out at the fourth-highest rate in the league (24.8), they are tied for league lead in walk rate at 11.5.

The Orioles rate second in the AL in batting (.260), third in OBP (.327), third in slugging (.453) and third in OPS (.780). Baltimore is scoring 4.96 runs per game and leads the majors in batting average on an 0-0 count at .439.

At 8-1 (.889), the Orioles own the best road record in the majors. O's hitters lead the AL and rank second in the majors with a .300 team batting average on the road, trailing only Washington's .304 road average. The Orioles also lead the AL and rank second in the majors with a .865 team OPS on the road (Washington, .882). Orioles pitchers own a 4.22 ERA on the road this season to rank fourth in the AL and sixth in the majors.

Baltimore's Cedric Mullins leads the majors with five bunt hits and no one else has more than two. Anthony Santander's 18-game hitting streak is the longest currently in the major leagues. Santander is tied for third in the majors with 27 RBIs.

OTD: On this date in 1970, the Orioles defeated Oakland 5-1 as left-hander Dave McNally won his 20th game. McNally became the first AL pitcher to win 20 games in three straight seasons since right-hander Bob Lemon did so for the Cleveland Indians from 1952-54.

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