The Baltimore Orioles will look to move a game over .500 when they face the visiting Tampa Bay Rays for the second straight night on Tuesday.
The Orioles, who went 1-18 against the Rays last year, have found a bit of success against Tampa Bay this season. While the Rays have won seven of the teams’ 13 meetings, Baltimore has won six of the squads’ past 10 meetings since the Rays’ season-opening, three-game sweep in Florida.
The Orioles opened the current four-game set with a 5-1 win on Monday that pushed their record to 48-48. Baltimore needed to play 150 games to pick up win No. 48 last year on Sept. 20.
Ryan Mountcastle hit a tie-breaking, two-run single Monday that keyed a four-run fifth inning for the Orioles, who received a terrific performance from their bullpen.
After starter Austin Voth allowed a run on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts over the first three innings, Bryan Baker, Nick Vespi, Dylan Tate, Cionel Perez and Felix Bautista limited the Rays to four hits and no walks while striking out eight in six scoreless innings.
“Tonight the bullpen was so good and once again they put six zeros up and that’s absolutely outstanding,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said.
The Orioles will give the ball on Tuesday to right-hander Spenser Watkins (3-1, 3.93 ERA). He picked up a win in his latest outing by holding the host Chicago Cubs to a run on four hits in five-plus innings during a 7-1 victory on July 13.
Watkins, however, hasn’t been nearly as good throughout his career against the Rays, who scored three runs on three hits and didn’t make an out before Watkins was relieved in the Orioles’ eventual 7-6 win on May 22.
It was his lone appearance this season against the Rays, who have lit Watkins up for 19 runs (18 earned) on 30 hits and five homers in 21 innings spanning five starts. Watkins is 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA against Tampa Bay.
The Rays, who have lost their past three games, will counter with Baltimore native Shane McClanahan (10-3, 1.71 ERA), one of the top pitchers in the majors this season.
The left-hander will take the mound for the first time since starting the All-Star Game last Tuesday.
McClanahan leads the majors in ERA and in WHIP (0.80) and is fourth in strikeouts with 147. He has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his past 13 starts and no more than one run in each of his past seven outings.
McClanahan, who is in his second major league season after being selected by the Rays in the first round of the 2018 draft, is 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA with 34 strikeouts against just five walks in his five starts spanning 27 1/3 innings against the Orioles.
He got a no-decision vs. Baltimore on Opening Day after striking out seven in 4 1/3 scoreless innings.
The Rays will be without outfielder Kevin Kiermaier and catcher Mike Zunino, both of whom will undergo season-ending surgeries, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said Monday.
Kiermaier, a three-time Gold Glove winner, will have labrum surgery in his left hip, with Zunino needing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.
Kiermaier, who last played July 9 and was transferred from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day IL on July 16, batted .228 this season with seven home runs and 22 RBIs. Zunino, who hasn’t played since June 9, batted .148 with five homers and 16 RBIs over 36 games.
“It’s unfortunate, no doubt about it,” Cash said. “There is time for a lengthier discussion down the road about the impact (Kiermaier) has had, but we’re certainly going to miss him this year.”
–Field Level Media