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Series Preview: Rays at Orioles

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Escape from New York!

The Tampa Bay Rays trip to New York City didn’t go as well as Rays fans hoped. The Rays were swept in a series. Don’t mistake a sweep for a blow out — every game was close, but the Rays just couldn’t make that one play to put them over the top. Now the Rays head to Charm City and hope facing the Baltimore Orioles will be the salve they need. However the Orioles have played well recently and are coming off a four game split against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Yankees have extended their sizable lead over three of the top four teams in the Wild Card race is making things look like an uphill battle for any team looking to get the first round bye in the playoffs. The Yankees are 10.0 games ahead of the Blue Jays, 12.0 games ahead of the Rays, and 13.5 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox. The Orioles trail by 20.0 games.

Schedule

Friday 6:05 PM: Shane Baz vs Dean Kremer
Saturday 4:05 PM: Jeffrey Springs vs Kyle Bradish
Sunday 1:35 PM: Corey Kluber vs Jordan Lyles

Dean Kremer makes his third start of the year. So far he’s posted a 3.86 ERA/4.42 FIP/5.21 xFIP. In his major league career he’s posted a reasonable 20.1% strikeout rate but the big problem has been a 10.8% walk rate. Kremer works off a 93.6 mph four-seam fastball and 87.4 mph cutter. He will mix in a 83.8 mph changeup and 76.7 mph curveball.

Kyle Bradish made his MLB debut earlier this season and the results haven’t been pretty. He’s posted a 6.86 ERA and 5.61 FIP however his 3.93 xFIP suggests that things under the hood might be more optimistic. He’s posted a 22.9% strikeout rate and 9.0% walk rate. The biggest problem is he’s allowed a ton of homeruns. He’s allowed 10 homers in 42.0 innings which is good for a 2.14 HR/9 rate. Bradish works off a 94.9 mph four-seam fastball and 86.1 mph slider. He’s willing to mix in a 89.6 mph changeup. His fastball is what most of the damage has come against and his 40.2% whiff rate on the slider is very good.

Jordan Lyles has been the veteran innings eater, a role he has played for much of his career. He’s put up a 5.10 ERA/4.42 FIP/4.23 xFIP over 72.1 innings. His 19.2% strikeout rate is a couple ticks higher than his career rate while his 7.4% walk rate is relatively unchanged. Lyles throws five pitches and doesn’t lean on one much more than rest. He throws a 91.9 mph four-seam fastball, 91.0 mph sinker, 80.2 mph slider, 86.5 mph changeup, and 79.2 mph curveball. Most of the damage has come off his four-seam fastball and sinker.

Baltimore’s offense has improved.

The Oriole offense still isn’t good, but it is much improved over recent seasons. They have hit .231/.300/.381 and put up a 95 wRC+. They’ve hit for reasonable levels of power and are willing to run on the bases. They have also made strides defensively putting up +23 DRS and +1.4 UZR.

They have been led by four big bats. Austin Hays (136 wRC+), Trey Mancini (131 wRC+), Ryan Mountcastle (123 wRC+), and Anthony Santander (118 wRC+) have provided good production from the top of the lineup. The problem is the bottom of the lineup.

Cedric Mullins II (97 wRC+) has taken a step back off his Silver Slugger winning 2021 campaign when he hit 30 homers and stole 30 bags.

Adley Rutschman (74 wRC+) has had a difficult transition to the majors after making his debut the last time the Rays visited town.