Image licensed from USA Today Sports
Friday night at Tropicana Field will feature game one of a three-game series between the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays. This is an AL East battle between first and last place in the division. The Orioles (22-39) come into this series 13 games behind the division-leading Rays (39-24). Both teams are fresh off splitting two-game sets against NL East opponents. The O’s won 10-3 and lost 14-1 against the Mets, while the Rays won 3-1 and lost 9-7 to the Nationals.
Harvey and the Orioles Get Blasted by Mets
Matt Harvey has now faced his former team twice this season, with the Mets going on to win both contests. Wednesday was an awful showing for Harvey, allowing seven earned runs on three innings pitched. He gave up homers to Pete Alonso and Kevin Pillar, as the bullpen went on to allow seven more runs the rest of the way. After having a promising start to the 2021 campaign, Harvey is now 3-7 with a 7.41 ERA on the season. In both games against the Mets this season, Harvey has allowed seven earned runs and eight hits. Baltimore hits the road with a 0-10 skid in away games and a 1-9 run on the road in Tampa Bay.
The Orioles will start two year pro Keegan Akin on Friday night at the Trop. Akin appeared in eight games last season and started six of them for Baltimore. He had a record of 1-2 in 2020 with an ERA of 4.56. Over 45.2 career innings, Akin has given up five home runs, 47 hits, and 21 earned runs. He was impressive in his previous start against Cleveland, throwing five scoreless innings and taking a no-decision in what was a 3-1 win for the Orioles. Over both of his starts this season, Keegan has allowed just one earned run over of 9.2 innings of work.
Trey Mancini is ranked 3rd in the MLB in RBIs with 45 on the season. He leads in the O’s in home runs hit this season (11) and has a BABIP of .321. According toFan Graphs, Mancini is hitting .324 against lefties on the year. and he has knocked in 25 runs. He has six home runs and 25 RBIs over 81 plate appearances against southpaws. As a unit, the Orioles are first in the MLB in batting average against lefties on the season. Their lineup has 100 RBIs (2nd) and 24 home runs (12th) against southpaws on the campaign. Despite good batting stats against lefties on the season, the O’s have a poor 8-13 record against them.
CEDRIC THE HUMAN HIGHLIGHT REEL 😱 pic.twitter.com/pCctqFswqC
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) June 9, 2021
Rays Lead the Majors in Wins
Tampa slumped out of the gates with a 13-15 record over their first 28 games of the season. 35 games later, the Rays are 39-24, good for the best record in the Majors. This Rays franchise continues to win and impress, even with important pieces from their championship run now gone. They are currently on a 15-5 run heading into Friday night’s battle against the Orioles. Despite their recent success, the Rays were losers in their last outing. The Nationals took care of Tampa in the 11th inning, beating them 9-7 in the series finale. Rays’ Manager Kevin Cash had this to say on ESPN.com: “I’m not frustrated, we shouldn’t be frustrated. We did everything within our power to win the ballgame. Very pleased with the way we went at it. We just fell short.”
Tampa will start Ryan Yarbrough here Friday night against the Orioles. Yarbrough shined in his previous start against the New York Yankees, as he threw a complete game in a dominating 9-2 win. He allowed just six hits over the nine innings of work and struck out six Yankees in the process. The outing was a big step in the right direction for him, as he is only 1-3 (5.06 ERA) on the season in his starts. Yarbrough has given up a team-leading 27 earned runs over just 48 innings as a starter on the campaign.
The Rays’ top guy offensively this season has been Austin Meadows. He has a total of 48 RBIs on the season, which has him tied for first in the MLB in that category. Meadows has 14 homers on the season and holds a .511 slugging percentage. He will be facing a left-handed starter in this one, which does not bode well for him as he has just a .169 average against southpaws on the season. Overall this season, the Rays are third in the MLB in runs scored. However, they are ranked 23rd in runs scored when they are playing at home. The Rays are just 16-14 on the year when playing at Tropicana Field as opposed to their 23-10 record when they are on the road.
Not your average Joey pic.twitter.com/3nw6YHrXBk
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 10, 2021
- 117-78 last three seasons in night games
- 91-56 last three seasons in home games
- 36-60 last three seasons against left-handed starters
- 61-118 last three seasons in night games