The Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays begin a four-game, three-day series at Camden Yards tonight. The Orioles start the night in first place in the American League East at 41-30, leading Boston by 1 1/2 games.
Tampa Bay - a playoff team in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013 - finds itself in last place right now. The Rays are 31-39 and have lost seven in a row. Right before this losing streak, they had won nine of 11 games.
But they are currently struggling, having scored just 15 runs during the seven consecutive losses with a team average of .183. They have just two hits in their past 28 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
O’s outfielder Adam Jones was asked if he notes the current state of the opponents the Orioles play throughout the year.
“No, because they don’t look at the state of us,” Jones said. “It’s not about the state of any team. When the game starts, who is ready to play and who is on the field? There are injuries all around baseball. You want to play everyone at full strength so the competitive edge is even. But they are major leaguers. There is no take it easy on anyone. No team does that. The point is to win every game.”
Tonight’s pitching matchup features O’s right-hander Yovani Gallardo (2-1, 6.26 ERA) facing Rays lefty Matt Moore (3-4, 4.90).
Gallardo is making his second start since returning from the DL. He pitched five innings last Saturday versus Toronto, allowing two runs. He is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in two home starts. The Orioles are 3-2 in his five starts in 2016.
Moore has given up just two runs over 13 innings his past two games. Before that, he had an ERA of 6.46 his previous nine starts. Since returning last year from Tommy John surgery, Moore has worked five innings or fewer in 14 of 26 starts. Against the Orioles in his career, over 11 games (10 starts), he is 4-5 with a 3.84 ERA and 0-3 over his past four starts against Baltimore.
Draft pick dollars: Jim Callis of MLBPipeline.com today tweeted the Orioles have an agreement with second-round draft pick, right-handed pitcher Matthias Dietz for $1.3 million. The slot amount for the No. 69 pick is $934,400. Callis tweeted that Dietz throws 91 to 94 mph and has touched 98 with a hard slider.
Earlier, Callis reported that the O’s agreement with fourth-round pick, high school pitcher Brenan Hanifee, was for a slightly overslot $500,000. The slot amount for that pick at No. 121 was $487,100.
Some of the overage needed there to sign those picks came from savings with the Orioles’ ninth- and 10th-round selections, pitchers Lucas Humpal and Cody Dube. They signed for a combined total of $15,000, which represents a combined savings of $308,700 for those picks.
The Orioles also announced today the signings of two more draft picks in left-handed pitcher Yelin Rodriguez (Round 20) and lefty Tyler Erwin (Round 23). The O’s have now announced the signings of 25 total picks.