The Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays wrap up this four-game series today and the worst the Orioles can do is leave with a 2-2 split. This will be the third series against the Rays this year and Baltimore has not lost any of them, winning one 2-1, splitting one 1-1 and leading this series 2-1 heading into today.
Sandwiched around a 3-0 loss Friday where they were held to two hits, the Orioles have two victories this series by one run. In each game they held a lead, got tied late as they lost the lead but went on to win the game. They pulled out Thursday’s game in the tenth and Saturday’s in the ninth.
The Orioles (60-38) now again have the AL East lead by one game over the Rays (61-41).
The Orioles are 2-1 this series, 6-3 in the second half and 11-3 since winning July 5 at Yankee Stadium. The O’s have outscored their opponents 85-52 during this 11-3 run.
The Orioles are 5-3 against the Rays in 2023. They have lost the three games by scores of 0-3, 2-7 and 0-3. The five wins have all come by two runs or less and three of the games were decided by one run. So they are 5-0 against Tampa Bay in games decided by one or two runs and 3-0 in one-run contests.
This will be the eighth straight series within the AL East that the Orioles have either won or tied. They are 5-0-2 in the seven before this one. They are 14-10 in their past 24 games against Tampa Bay. They are 18-12 for the year in AL East games. And, since losing their first two division series this year, they are 16-8 in their past 24 division games.
Right-hander Tyler Wells (7-5, 3.54 ERA) will make his 19th start today, coming off his poorest of this season. On Tuesday he gave up five runs in a season-low two innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But his ERA was 2.83 in the eight starts right before that game.
Wells leads the majors in WHIP (0.984), just ahead of Tampa Bay's Zach Eflin and ranks 14th in the AL in ERA.
On June 21 he gave up four hits and four runs (two earned) in five innings against Tampa Bay. In his career against the Rays, he is 0-3 with a 5.93 ERA.
Righty Taj Bradley (5-6, 5.29 ERA) starts for the Rays. Bradley, 22, gave up two runs over five frames versus Texas in his most recent outing. But, over his last four starts, he is 0-3 with a 9.35 ERA. Those four games of mostly struggles came right after his June 21 start against the Orioles, where he allowed one run in six innings on 83 pitches.
O's starting pitchers have the fifth-best ERA in the majors in July:
2.25 - San Diego
3.05 - Cleveland
3.24 - Seattle
3.24 - NY Mets
3.57 - Orioles
In this series, O's starters have allowed seven earned runs over 17 2/3 for an ERA of 3.57. The Baltimore rotation has nine quality starts in the past 14 games with an ERA of 3.70.
The Baltimore offense, which has scored 10 runs in three games this series, has produced 62 runs in the last 11 games and 85 in the last 14. In those 14 games, O's batters have hit .381 (45-for-118) batting with runners in scoring position.
With Saturday's victory, the Birds moved to 30-8 (.789) when scoring first, the best record in MLB. But the 38 such games are the fewest in MLB.
Baltimore improved to 18-9 (.667) in one-run games, the best record in the AL and third-best in MLB. And the Orioles are now 24-14 (.632) following a loss, the best record in the AL and second-best in MLB behind the Dodgers at 28-12 (.700).