The Orioles are back home, finally, after a three-city road trip and back-to-back, one-run losses in Atlanta.
Now they get red-hot Tampa Bay, which has the best record in baseball at 28-7 and a plus-115 run differential.
The Rays’ record is tied for the second-best through 35 games since 1903. The 1984 Tigers were 30-5 and won the World Series.
Per STATS, this is only the fifth time in 134 series that the Orioles and Rays have been first and second in the standings. Most recently was in April 2019, but the second-place Orioles were 7-10.
The teams have never finished one-two in the division.
Austin Hays is leading off and playing left field. Ryan McKenna is in center field and Cedric Mullins is sitting.
James McCann is behind the plate, with Adley Rutschman serving as designated hitter.
Ramón Urías is playing third base and Jorge Mateo is the shortstop.
Anthony Santander has multiple hits in six consecutive games, the club’s longest streak since shortstop José Iglesias (seven) in 2020. But Santander is the first in team history to do it in the first six games of a calendar month, per STATS.
Kyle Gibson is 4-1 with a 4.61 ERA and 1.341 WHIP in seven starts. He’s 6-5 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.365 WHIP in 13 career games (12 starts) versus the Rays.
Gibson is 5-0 with a 1.67 ERA and 0.9588 WHIP in his last five starts against the Rays, holding them to one earned run or fewer in four.
Gibson has registered a 1.42 ERA and 1.026 WHIP this season in two home starts and a 6.04 ERA and 1.482 WHIP in five road starts.
The Orioles are 11-0 in series openers. They’ve won their last three series against the Rays at Camden Yards after a nine-game home losing streak from May 18-Aug. 29, 2021.
Baltimore native Shane McClanahan is 6-0 and has allowed nine runs with 51 strikeouts in 40 innings this season. He’s made seven career starts against the Orioles and gone 5-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 1.091 WHIP in 40 1/3 innings.
McClanahan can become the third pitcher in Rays history to win his first seven decisions and the first since Charlie Morton went 8-0 in 2019. He has more wins against the Orioles than any other opponent and is 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in his last five opportunities.
Randy Arozarena is a career .372/.420/.723 hitter with seven doubles, 15 home runs and 38 RBIs in 37 games against the Orioles. His batting average and slugging percentage are the highest for any opponent versus the Orioles with a minimum of 150 plate appearances, according to STATS.
The Rays are batting .332 with 18 home runs and 56 runs scored in their last six road games. The last team with that many homers in a span of six road games was Toronto (19) in 2021 per STATS.
Tampa Bay has lost five road series in a row against the American League East and is 15-26 in division road games the past two years.
The Orioles will hold a moment of silence before the game in honor of the late Dave Wills, a Rays broadcaster for 18 years who passed away suddenly in March.
For the Orioles
Austin Hays LF
Adley Rutschman DH
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Anthony Santander RF
Jorge Mateo SS
James McCann C
Adam Frazier 2B
Ramón Urías 3B
Ryan McKenna CF
Kyle Gibson RHP