The Orioles begin their last road trip before the All-Star break tonight in St. Petersburg against the Tampa Bay Rays. The O’s will play three there and three this weekend at Toronto before the break.
The Orioles took two of three over the weekend against Cleveland, allowing just two runs and 21 hits in 27 innings with five walks and 24 strikeouts. The Orioles went the full three-game series without allowing a homer for the first time since July 31-Aug. 2, 2017.
Baltimore starting pitchers allowed one run and 10 hits over 17 1/3 innings in the series against Cleveland. The O’s rotation ERA for the season of 5.50 ranks last in the American League.
Tampa Bay (48-36) has won three of four. But over longer stretches, the Rays have lost 12 of their last 19 and completed June going 13-16. That ended a club-record run of five straight winning months for the Rays. Tampa Bay started the 2019 season going 14-4 and is 34-32 since.
The Rays led the AL East as recently as June 14, but the New York Yankees are 13-1 in their past 14 games to open a seven-game lead over the Rays for the division lead. Boston is in third place, 11 games out. Tampa Bay holds the No. 1 wild card spot in a crowded race with five teams within four games of each other.
Tampa Bay is 21-8 (.724) against teams that are under .500. The Orioles are 2-3 on the season versus the Rays and have lost seven of nine against Tampa Bay since last Aug. 9.
The Orioles have selected the contract of right-hander Tom Eshelman and he will start tonight. It will be his major league debut. The Orioles acquired Eshelman June 10 from the Phillies for international bonus money.
The 25-year-old Eshelman is 2-2 with a 3.33 ERA in seven starts this season between the two organizations at the Triple-A level. He has gone 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA in three starts for Norfolk. Eshelman will become the 45th player used on the season by the Orioles.
Right-hander Ryne Stanek (0-1, 2.76 ERA) starts tonight as an opener for the Rays. In 23 opener starts, Stanek is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.083 WHIP. He got the start April 14 versus the Orioles and threw one scoreless inning, allowing one hit with three strikeouts.
Left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (7-3, 4.62 ERA) is expected to follow Stanek and pitch starter innings. Over his past three games he’s allowed eight hits and one run in 12 innings with no walks and 10 strikeouts.
Minor league notes: Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Austin Hays is expected to go out on a rehab assignment later this week at a lower-level affiliate. Hays has been out with a hamstring injury and on the injured list since June 21. That will eventually lead him back to Norfolk, where he is batting .216 in 10 Tides games.
Single-A Delmarva outfielder Doran Turchin has gone on the injured list with a left knee injury, but O’s officials are hopeful he dodged a serious injury. Turchin and teammate Nick Horvath collided chasing a ball during a game over the weekend. Hopefully, this is good news for a key cog in the Shorebirds lineup. Over 71 games, Turchin has hit .235 with five homers and a team-leading 42 RBIs.
The Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles beat the Red Sox 7-4 today to improve to 5-0. DJ Stewart, on a rehab assignment of his own, homered and Nate Karns threw a scoreless inning. Outfielder Craig Lewis, this year’s 33rd-round pick, went 3-for-4 and is 8-for-14 in four games for the GCL team.