The Orioles wrapped up their first series win in their very first try, sweeping the Twins. Now they take on the Tampa Bay Rays who started their season by splitting a four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays. Can the Orioles make it two series wins in a row?
The 2015 Rays followed the pattern that many Rays teams have over recent years. Their pitching was top tier, ranked by several measures (including ERA+ and FIP) as fourth best in the American League. The problem was that even with a team ERA of just 3.74, their hitting just wasn't good enough to put them into contention. They finished with an 80-82 record, one game behind the Orioles.
In an attempt to add some oompf to the lineup, the Rays added Logan Morrison, Corey Dickerson, and former Oriole Steve Pearce, among others. Will it be enough? It's only been four games, but so far the Rays have scored 3, 3, 3, and 5 runs.
Game 1: Chris Archer vs. Chris Tillman
Friday, April 8th, 7:05 PM, MASN
|Archer - 2015||32||212||3.23||2.90||10.7||2.8||.220/.282/.331|
|Tillman - 2015||31||173||4.99||4.45||6.2||3.3||.267/.332/.430|
In the battle of the Chrises, it's easy to pick the better one and he doesn't wear orange and black. Archer started on Opening Day for the Rays and gave up three runs (two earned) in five innings with 12 strikeouts. 12! That's a K/9 of about 21.
This is Archer's fourth full season in the majors, and while they have all been very good, he has tended to have trouble with the Orioles. He has a career 4.44 ERA against the O's in eight starts. In 2015 Archer faced the Orioles four times, pitching two duds and two gems. In the duds he gave up 8 runs in 11.2 innings, and in the other two he gave up just one run over 12 innings.
As for Tillman, we all know what a disappointment he was in 2015. We also know that he looked like a brand new man in two innings on Opening Day before the rain delay forced him out of the game. So which Tillman will we see tonight? Your guess is as good as mine, man.
Orioles vs. Archer:
Game 2: Drew Smyly vs. Mike Wright
Saturday, April 9th, 7:05 PM, MASN2
|Smyly - 2015||12/12||66.2||3.11||3.91||10.4||2.7||.230/.288/.413|
|Wright - 2015||12/9||44.2||6.04||6.13||5.2||3.6||.291/.288/.413|
I hate Drew Smyly the most. He has had a good career over the past four years, but when he pitches against the Orioles he is out-of-this-world good. Like, I think he might be an alien. He did miss much of the 2015 season with a shoulder injury, but in the 12 starts he did make he found success.
Actually, in his last start against the Orioles back on September 18th, the Orioles lit up Drew for five runs in 5.2 innings pitched. But before that he made four starts where he allowed a total of three runs, and three scoreless relief appearances. Here's hoping that tomorrow's game looks more like the one last September and less like every other time Smyly has faced them.
In his first start of the season against the Blue Jays, Smyly was touched up for five runs in 6.2 innings and he gave up three dingers.
This will be Mike Wright's first start of the season after he locked down the fourth starter position in spring training. Wright started his major league career last year with two great games in which he pitched into the seventh inning with no runs allowed. It was all downhill from there, as after that he made seven more starts with an ERA of 9.88 (30 ER in 27.1 IP). In short, he was terrible.
Hopefully whatever the Orioles saw in spring training is enough to give him success throughout the season. My honest prediction is that he'll flounder until they move him to the bullpen, where he'll be able to use that fastball more to his advantage.
Orioles vs. Smyly:
Game 3: Jake Odorizzi vs TBD
Sunday, April 10th, 1:35 PM, MASN
|Odorizzi - 2015||28||169.1||3.35||3.61||8.0||2.4||.231/.284/.296|
Ah, TBD, our old friend. The O's starter in this game will likely be Tyler Wilson, who pitched three innings on Opening Day, or Vance Worley. Stay tuned!
Jake Odorizzi is starting his third full season with the Rays, and while he has been successful against other teams, he has not had much success against the Orioles. In seven career starts, Odorizzi has a 4.79 ERA against the Orioles, who are OPS'ing .801 against him as a team. Not bad. In 2015 Odorizzi made three starts against the Orioles. In the first, in April, he pitched 6.2 innings of shutout baseball. In the other two the Orioles got to him, once for four runs in six innings and once for four runs in 5.2 innings.
Orioles vs. Odorizzi: