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Series Preview: Off to the charm city as Rays meet Orioles

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays head to Baltimore after losing the final two games against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Baltimore Orioles won two of three against the Toronto Blue Jays after winning two of three last weekend against the Rays.

The Matchups:

Friday 7:05 PM: Jacob Faria vs Chris Tillman

Saturday 4:05 PM: Jake Odorizzi vs Dylan Bundy

Sunday 1:35 PM: Alex Cobb vs Kevin Gausman

The Baltimore starting rotation has had a good five game stretch.

Last Friday the Rays put an exclamation point in the history books after they put up 15 runs to extend the Orioles streak of allowing five or more runs to 20 games tying them with the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies. Since then the Orioles have only given up five runs once in five games. Against the Blue Jays they gave up five total runs in the three game series.

Chris Tillman’s ten starts this year haven’t been good. He’s allowed a 8.39 ERA and 6.39 FIP. He’s averaging less than 4.5 innings per start. He’s striking out very few while walking a well above average number of batters. Last Sunday he allowed five runs, four earned, in 4.1 innings to the Rays. Left handed bats have feasted off Tillman this year.

Dylan Bundy has been the most effective Orioles starter. He has a 3.73 ERA and 4.75 FIP this year. He doesn’t get a lot of strike outs, but he keeps the walks in check. In his last start he gave up three runs in seven innings against the Rays.

Kevin Gausman hasn’t been as effective as last year. In 2016 he posted a 3.61 ERA and 4.10 FIP, but in 2017 those numbers have spiked to a 6.07 ERA and 5.19 FIP. Strikeouts are down almost eight percent and walks are up four percent. In his last start he held the Blue Jays scoreless through 5.1 innings. It will be the first time facing the Rays this season.

Zach Britton is still on the disabled list.

Zach Britton has been on the disabled list since his last appearance on May fourth with a strained forearm. He is scheduled to make an appearance for the Orioles A+ team today, so should be back soon.

Darren O’Day, Brad Brach, and Mychal Givens has led the bullpen with quality innings.

The Orioles have thrown nineteen pitchers out of the bullpen this year and most of them have been quite bad leading to an overall 4.19 ERA and 4.67 FIP.

The Orioles bullpen comes in well rested. The last two days only pitcher has had to throw. Alex Asher threw three innings on Wednesday evening, so he’s likely unavailable for the next couple days.

Jonathan Schoop and Trey Mancini have been on fire the past 30 days.

On the season the Orioles offense hasn’t been that good. They have hit .255/.311/.426 and have a 93 wRC+. However they have been better over the past 30 days hitting .262/.315/.451 and putting up a 100 wRC+.

Jonathan Schoop (172 wRC+) and Trey Mancini (166 wRC+) have been crushing it the last 30 days.

Manny Machado isn’t having the offensive season most would expect. He’s hitting .220/.293/.429 and has a 86 wRC+ despite hitting 15 homers. He’s been marginally better the past 30 days putting up a 90 wRC+.

As we saw last weekend the Orioles offense is still capable of putting up big run totals. They have had to with the runs their pitching and defense have allowed.

Nine games remaining until the all-star break.

There is a week and a half remaining in baseball’s first half. The focus has been on voting Corey Dickerson as the starting designated hitter for the AL all-star team. It looks like Dickerson was able to use his improved closing speed and overtake the lead. I’d like to thank everybody who took the time to vote for Dickerson and any other Rays you felt were worthy.

Seven of the nine games remaining will be against American League East competition. Finishing strong would be a great way to kick off a second half that could see the Rays staying in and potentially winning the race for the playoffs.