O's game blog: The Tampa Bay series begins at the Trop

The Orioles road trip continues tonight at Tropicana Field as Baltimore begins a two-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the American League East leader and the club with the best record in MLB.

The Rays (51-24, .680) are on a pace to win 110 games, while the Orioles (44-27, .620) are on pace for 100 wins. The Rays lead the Orioles by five games atop the division but that margin is just three games in the loss column. While Tampa Bay's record ranks first in MLB, the Orioles are fourth in overall win percentage.

Both teams have won at a lesser pace over recent stretches. The Orioles are 3-4 in their past seven series, going 11-10 in 21 games in that span. But they have also won seven of their past 10.

The Orioles beat the Cubs Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep. They have not been swept in a series of at least two games since a three-game set from May 13-15, 2022 at Detroit. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, their streak of 62 consecutive series without being swept is the longest active streak in MLB, ahead of a 36-series streak by Arizona and a 23-series streak by Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay lost the last two games of its recent series with San Diego, and has gone 4-5 over the last nine games. In the last two series, the Rays went 2-2 against Oakland and 1-2 versus San Diego.

The Orioles won two of three from the Rays from May 8-10 in Baltimore, losing the series opener 3-0 before 4-2 and 2-1 wins. So both teams scored just six runs in that series. The Orioles went 9-10 last year against the Rays, going 2-7 at Tropicana Field.

The Orioles have won five straight AL East series (going 11-4 in those games) for the first time since July 5-Aug. 28, 2014. For the year, the Rays are 16-9 (.640) in AL East games and the Orioles are 13-8 (.619).

Tampa Bay, which began the year going 13-0, was 20-3 after its first 23 games of the season. The Rays are a remarkable 31-7 (.816) at home. Tampa Bay has won nine of its last 11 home games, and is 12-0 in home series openers. That is the best mark since Detroit went 13-0 in home series openers to begin the 2013 season. The Rays are 11-1 in home series this season, losing one only to Houston in late April. They have won all seven series at home since then.

The Orioles are 22-14 in road games and 8-4 in road series. Baltimore is 16-7 in series-opening games.

Right-hander Kyle Bradish (2-3, 3.90 ERA) will make his 13th start, and the Orioles are 7-5 in the first 12. Over his past seven outings, Bradish is 1-2 with a 2.90 ERA and .621 OPS against with four quality starts.

But in two career games versus Tampa Bay, he is 0-1 with a 10.24 ERA. In 17 career AL East starts, Bradish is 0-9 with a 7.27 ERA. He pitched well enough to get a division win last Wednesday versus Toronto but did not, allowing just one run over seven innings.

Right-hander Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 3.43 ERA) will pitch for Tampa Bay. He had Tommy John surgery on Aug. 4, 2021, but returned very late last year and made a playoff start for the Rays. This year he suffered an oblique strain early in spring training and did not make his season debut until May 27, so this will be just his fifth start. In six career games against the Orioles he is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA.

Minor league moves: All the minor league moves we reported here on Sunday became official today. To go over them again:

* Moving from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk are infielder César Prieto, right-handed pitcher Justin Armbruester and righty reliever Wandisson Charles.

* Moving from High-A Aberdeen to Bowie are pitchers Alex Pham, Keagan Gillies and Jean Pinto, and outfielder Jud Fabian.

* Moving from Single-A Delmarva to Aberdeen is right-handed pitcher Juan Nuñez.

In addition to that, both Ryan Mountcastle and Cedric Mullins will begin rehab assignments tonight when Triple-A Norfolk plays at Nashville. The Tides also activated catcher Ramón Rodríguez, while infielders Greg Cullen (on rehab) and Noelberth Romero joined Single-A Delmarva.

Armbruester, who went 3-2 with a 2.47 ERA at Double-A Bowie, will make his Triple-A debut tonight. Norfolk (45-23) has a magic number of two to clinch the first half International League championship. The Triple-A first half ends on Sunday, and Norfolk is looking to clinch a playoff spot for the first time 2015.

Toby Welk was released from Double-A Bowie’s roster today. A 21st-round draft pick of the Orioles in the 2019 MLB Draft, Welk hit .259 with a .747 career OPS in 221 career games on the Baltimore farm.

Right-hander Noah Denoyer cleared waivers today and was assigned to Norfolk.

Pinto will be on the mound tonight for Bowie at Altoona, making his Double-A debut. 

And the Orioles moves earlier today included selecting the contract of catcher Anthony Bemboom and recalling ‘pen right-hander Logan Gillaspie while pitcher Spenser Watkins was designated for assignment and catcher José Godoy was optioned to Triple-A.



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