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ALL Eastern enemies at opposite ends of the standings begin a three-game series Friday night when the Tampa Bay Rays visit the Baltimore Orioles at the Camden Yards. Tampa Bay currently has a slim lead in the 65-44 division after winning Wednesday’s game 4-3 against the Seattle Mariners as a -151 favorite to avoid the sweep. Baltimore are in last place with 38-69 after losing two of three to the New York Yankees, who were shortened by a 10-3 loss on Wednesday as a big +239 underdog.
This has, as expected, been a one-sided season series in 2021, with Tampa Bay having an 8-1 advantage so far.
Rays finally come on the board against the Mariners
A strong race over the past two months has helped the Rays move on top of AL East, but they battled hard in the season against Seattle with six straight losses before finally winning Wednesday’s final. Randy Arozarena’s triple to-run in the third caused Tampa Bay’s offense to run when Joey Wendle later drove him into a fly where Mike Zunino launched a long homer for insurance in the sixth.
Starter Josh Fleming bounced back from a hard spot with five innings of two-run ball, allowing five hits and no walks as he struck out six to earn the win. Arozarena had the only multi-hit game for the Rays, while Ji-Man Choi went twice and scored a run.
Tampa Bay has strong game statistics for the season at 58-50 against the spread, while it has risen tremendously on the money line for the season with one of the best straight records in baseball since the beginning of May. Overs is 57-48-3 for the Rays, with three of their last four games going below the bet amount.
The jets have consistently produced well on the plate with an average of 4.94 runs per. Games and a 0.721 OPS. Pitching has been even more of a strength as Tampa Bay leads the AL with a 3.56 collective ERA while going just 2.78 opposing strokes per nine innings, second-best in all of baseball.
Ryan Yarbrough will take the plunge to open the series after making a decision outside last Saturday against the Boston Red Sox, allowing five runs on four hits and a walk while knocking out four. The 29-year-old has an up-and-down season overall and goes 4-6 with a 4.58 ERA in 21 excursions including 16 starts. Arozarena has warmed up too late and is in the mix for AL Rookie of the Year with a 0.802 OPS, 16 homers, 11 steals and 52 RBI.
Although the Rays have no position players at IL, it’s a very different story for the pitcher staff, as ace Tyler Glasnow has just operated on Tommy John, while Chris Archer (tightness in the forearm) and Yonny Chirinos (Tommy John operation) are both out. A whopping 12 ray relievers are at IL, including some of their best arms in Nick Anderson (partially torn UCL), Pete Fairbanks (shoulder inflammation), Collin McHugh (arm fatigue), JP Feyereisen (shoulder discomfort) and Ryan Thompson (shoulder inflammation).
Orioles drops another series in blowout mode
Rebuilding Baltimore are looking for bright spots at this point, and while it was able to take the series opener from the Yankees, it lost the next two games with an overall 23-4 scoreline. Things started well enough on Wednesday when Ryan Mountcastle hit a fly in the top of the first before going deep in the fourth, but the next 10 races went to the Yankees as things slipped away from the Orioles in the seventh.
Starter Matt Harvey lasted four innings, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk while hitting one out. The bullpen was shot when five different Baltimore relievers were charged with a earned run, including Cole Slusser, who took the loss. Cedric Mullins went 2-4 with a run scored to set the pace in the offense.
Baltimore has not been a good team to gamble on as it is 47-59 against the spread and down a large amount on the money line with the worst straight record in AL. Overs are 54-49-3 for the Orioles after the last two games went over the bet amount.
There have been at least a few flashes from the Orioles offense, averaging 4.14 runs per second. Play with a 0.698 OPS. Baltimore pitching has really struggled with a league-worst 5.52 ERA, while allowing 1.49 home runs per game. Nine innings as staff.
The rotation will turn on Friday for ace John Means, who has been excellent this year with a 5-3 record and 2.84 ERA in 15 starts. Funds rolled to a win over the Detroit Tigers last weekend with six innings of a round, allowing four strokes and a walk while six struck out. Mullins is a breakout star leading the Orioles offense with a .323 / .385 / .546 line, 18 homers, 20 steals and 61 runs scored.
The Orioles are mostly healthy, as first baseman Chris Davis is the only positional player at IL after undergoing season-ending hip surgery. Rookie starting pitcher Bruce Zimmermann is set on the sidelines of biceps tendinitis. Relievers Hunter Harvey (strained lat), Travis Lakins Sr. (elbow surgery), Tanner Scott (knee pain) and Tyler Wells (knee tendinitis) are all on IL.
Trends via Covers.com.
- Baltimore is 4-1 in its last five games against a left-handed starter.
- Tampa Bay is 2-5 in its last seven internationals against a left-handed starter.