The Tampa Bay Rays have awoken from their early season stupor and won four in a row. The Baltimore Orioles seem to be trending the other way, having just lost three straight.
The Rays continue their reunion tour this time taking on old friends Alex Cobb and Tim Beckham.
Tuesday 7:05 PM: Jacob Faria vs Alex Cobb
Wednesday 7:05 PM: Chris Archer vs Dylan Bundy
Thursday 7:05 PM: Blake Snell vs Chris Tillman
Alex Cobb faces his former team for the first time
Orioles Starters Last 3+ Years
Just before opening day, the Orioles signed former Rays pitcher Alex Cobb to a four year, $57MM contract. Signing in late March meant Cobb needed to spend some time in extended spring training before joining the club, and his first two starts have indicated that he’s still playing catch up. He has allowed 15 runs/ 12 earned (15.43 ERA) over 7.0 innings. When healthy Cobb was a very good pitcher for the Rays, and those who have watched him throughout his career have no doubt he will figure out a way to turn things around this season.
Dylan Bundy has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball in this young season. In his five starts he’s totaled 31.2 innings with a 1.42 ERA and 2.01 FIP. His strikeout rate has spiked to 31.0% while he has lowered his walk rate slightly to 7.0%. In his last start against the Rays in July of 2017 he allowed five runs in 4.0 innings. The Bundy vs Chris Archer matchup should be one that shouldn’t be missed.
At his best Chris Tillman has been a guy worthy of being at the top of the Baltimore rotation. It’s been a while since he’s been that though. Since the beginning of last season Tillman has a 8.16 ERA and 7.11 FIP over 110.1 innings. His strikeout rate has plummeted and his walk rate has spiked. His last two appearances came against the Rays last year. The Rays put up seven runs in 6.0 innings.
Zach Britton is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon
Orioles Relievers Last 3+ Years
Even with Zach Britton on the shelf the Orioles have a handful of relievers with strong track records.
Darren O’Day (4.15 ERA, 5.37 FIP), Brad Brach (5.19 ERA, 4.68 FIP), and Mychal Givens (5.91 ERA, 4.30 FIP) haven’t gotten off to starts that one would expect based on past performance.
Richard Bleier has put up 15.2 great innings. He’s put up a 0.57 ERA and 3.05 FIP. This is coming off 63.1 innings of good results last year with a 1.99 ERA even if the 4.37 FIP wasn’t as flattering.
The Orioles haven’t had an off day in the past week, but their bullpen is as rested as one could reasonably expect. Only Richard Bleier has thrown more than once in the last four games.
Manny Machado is trying his best to carry the Orioles offense
Orioles Batters Last 3+ Years
The Orioles are hitting .215/.284/.354 and putting up a 74 wRC+ this year. Manny Machado is hitting .360/.447/.708 and has a 208 wRC+. The rest of the team is hitting .197/.262/.310 and putting up a 56 wRC+. Please don’t let Machado beat you. Force any other bat to beat you.
Mark Trumbo, Jonathan Schoop, and Colby Rasmus are on the disabled list.
Tim Beckham went on a hot streak after his trade to the Orioles last July. For two weeks after the trade he hit .484/.500/.855 and 262 wRC+ over 64 plate appearances, as Rays fans looked on in amazement. But his performance since has been much more pedestrian. In the 259 plate appearances since his hot streak he’s hit .214/.274/.345 and 65 wRC+. He pulled his groin recently and word is he might be placed on the disabled list.
The Orioles lineup has a lot of thump even with the injuries. Right now they aren’t hitting well and the Rays pitchers need to take advantage of the situation.
The Rays need to keep the foot on the gas pedal
The Rays are playing well and need to take advantage of a slumping and dinged up Orioles team. Camden Yards is a hitter friendly environment that the Rays bats should enjoy.
Machado and Bundy are playing extremely well, the rest of the team not so much. Rays pitchers should be able to work around Machado. The team can hardly avoid Bundy but if Archer does his job the Rays have a chance to win in what is likely to be a low-scoring Wednesday night game.