New Orioles right-hander Aaron Brooks will make his debut with his new club as the starter in the opener of today’s split doubleheader. The Orioles host the Tampa Bay Rays at Camden Yards, with the opener at 1:05 p.m. and tonight’s second game set for 7:05 p.m.
Tampa Bay scored seven runs in the first inning last night - their most ever in the opening inning of a road game - to beat the Orioles 16-4 in the series opener.
The Orioles (27-63) have lost back-to-back games and have lost five of eight, 18 of 24 and 34 of their past 46 games. They are 5-5 over the past 10 games and 11-32 at Oriole Park.
Tampa Bay (53-39) has won seven of 10 games. The Rays are 5-3 in July after going 13-16 in June. They are 6-3 this season against the Orioles, including a 2-1 mark at Camden Yards.
Brooks was designated for assignment by Oakland on July 3, and three days later was claimed on waivers by the Orioles.
“Excited. Always excited for a new opportunity,” he said yesterday in the home clubhouse. “Coming over to help any team as much as I can to get wins.”
So Brooks starts today in what is expected to be a bullpen game. Brooks is not yet stretched out enough to go deep into a game. He hasn’t thrown more than three innings since May 11.
The 29-year-old Brooks went 2-3 with a 5.01 ERA for Oakland. He made six starts in April and has been pitching out of the ‘pen since. He had a 5.74 ERA as a starter, and he pitched to a 3.79 ERA in relief.
“Sinker, slider. I’m a big sinker-slider guy and can get early contact and a lot of ground balls when it’s on,” he said. “Good (so far this season). Always a learning experience for myself and always trying to get better. So, trying to stay on top of my game and learn as much as possible.”
The starter for Tampa Bay in today’s first game is lefty Brendan McKay (1-0, 2.45 ERA). McKay is a two-way player who is also used as a hitter.
He made his major league debut on the mound, throwing six scoreless innings and allowing just one hit on June 29 versus the Rangers. He retired the first 16 batters he faced in that game before allowing a one-out single in the sixth. He recorded the longest scoreless outing ever by a Tampa Bay pitcher in his major league debut. He followed up that outing by allowing three runs and six hits in five innings last Friday against the Yankees.
As a batter, McKay has made one big league start, going 0-for-4 as the designated hitter on July 1 against the Orioles. In the minors this year, he’s hit .205/.313/.331 between Double-A and Triple-A. He has actually been better with Triple-A Durham, batting .265 in 15 games. On the mound between the teams, he went 6-0 with a 1.22 ERA with 88 strikeouts and an 0.80 WHIP in 66 2/3 innings.