O's game blog: The Tampa Bay series begins

After producing the walk-off win Thursday afternoon against the New York Yankees, the Orioles host the Tampa Bay Rays today in the opener of a three-game series and continuation of a seven-game homestand.

After back-to-back one-run losses to New York, the Orioles (15-24) salvaged the series finale Thursday 9-6 on Anthony Santander’s three-run shot. It was his seventh homer of the season and first career walk-off hit.

The game marked the first walk-off home run by an Oriole since Rio Ruiz hit a game-ending longball off Roberto Osuna on Aug. 11, 2019, versus Houston. It was the Baltimore’s third walk-off victory of the season, with all three coming against American League East foes - two against the Yankees and one against the Red Sox.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, Santander, with two doubles a homer in that game, is the third Oriole to record three extra-base hits, including a walk-off home run, in a single game, joining Randy Milligan (2-2B, HR) on June 12, 1990, against Milwaukee and Manny Machado (3 HRs) on Aug. 18, 2017, versus the Los Angeles Angels. And Santander is the first major league player to record such a game since Alex Verdugo (2-2B, HR) did so with the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 22, 2019, versus Colorado.

In the month of May, Trey Mancini has batted .377/.441/.492 (23-for-61) and ranks among AL leaders in OBP (2nd), batting average (4th), and hits (T-5th). For his career, Mancini owns a line of .282/.352/.462 with 40 extra-base hits, 60 runs scored and 65 RBIs in 118 May games. Mancini has hit safely in 14 of 16 games this month, including producing multiple hits in seven of them, and on the season, he leads the team and ranks tied for sixth in the AL with 12 multi-hit games.

Orioles pitchers boast a 2.90 ERA at Oriole Park in 2022, the second-best home ERA in the AL and third best in the majors. Orioles pitchers have surrendered 12 home runs at home, the third fewest in the AL and fourth fewest in Major League Baseball.

According to ESPN Park Factors, Oriole Park has the sixth-lowest home run park factor in MLB at 0.682. Coors Field in Denver has the highest, at 1.875. Park factor compares the rate of stats at home compared to on the road, with a rate higher than 1.000 favoring hitters, and a rate below 1.000 favoring pitchers. Last year, Oriole Park had the highest home run park factor in MLB at 1.574.

Right-hander Tyler Wells (1-3, 4.18 ERA) will make his eighth start tonight and second against Tampa Bay. In his 2022 season debut he allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings on 54 pitches on April 10 at Tropicana Field. In five career games versus the Rays he is 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA and 1.174 WHIP, with two walks and 14 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.

Wells' pitch counts for the year have been 54, 64, 54, 72, 62, 75 and 71 pitches. On Sunday at Detroit he gave up three runs in four innings. In the five starts leading into that he had allowed two earned runs or fewer in each. The Orioles, though, are just 1-6 in his games this season.

Lefty Jalen Beeks (1-0, 1.72 ERA) gets the start for the Rays in what is likely an opener situation. Beeks has thrown a scoreless outing eight times in nine games, and for the season has allowed nine hits and three runs over 15 2/3 with four walks, 17 strikeouts and 0.830 WHIP. He pitched against Wells in that April 10 game and allowed two hits and no runs over 1 2/3 on 37 pitches. That is his season high pitch total.

The Orioles have turned 49 double plays this year, the most in the majors. Baltimore has recorded 27 double plays in the field this month, tops in MLB. Lefty Bruce Zimmermann has induced groundball double plays nine times, the most in MLB, while Jordan Lyles ranks tied for second with opponents grounding into double plays seven times. Jorge Mateo has turned 30 double plays, the most among major league shortstops, while Rougned Odor has turned 20, sixth among second basemen.

Tampa Bay (23-15) is in second place in the division, five games behind New York. The Rays have won 15 in a row over the Orioles since July 20, 2021 and are 21-1 versus the Orioles since the start of last year. This season, Tampa Bay has won five of its past seven games and is 11-5 the last 16 games and 18-9 over the past 27.


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