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Orioles at Rays series preview: September 5-7

They are all important series at this point

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Joseph Garnett, Jr. /Getty Images

Starting on Thursday, I’m going to be a HUGE Rays fan for about two-and-a-half weeks. In that time, they will have six games against the Yankees, three against the Blue Jays and three against the Red Sox. But for the next three days, they are my mortal enemies; even Kevin Kiermaier and his dreamy blue eyes.

Tampa has been a nice team for the O’s to take on most of the 2016 season. So far this year, the Birds are 9-3 against the Rays and they have outscored them by 21 runs. However, the two teams haven’t seen each other since mid-July, back when Dylan Bundy was just beginning his career as a starter. Oh, it seems so long ago.

At this point in the season, every series is a big series for the Orioles. They head on the road here and need at least two out of three as the schedule only gets more difficult. That won’t be easy given the first two pitchers for the O’s.

Game 1: Monday, September 5 at 1:10 p.m. MASN

RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (5-11, 6.46 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Andriese (6-6, 4.19)

Ubaldo gets another start. It’s because his last two outings have actually been pretty good. Against the Nationals and Blue Jays, the righty gave up just four runs, 10 hits, two walks and seven strikeouts over 12.2 innings. Theoretically, he should do even better against the offensively-challenged Rays, but of course, that’s not how baseball ever works.

Andriese is an OK pitcher. He has been in and out of Tampa’s rotation all year. The righty started against the Birds back on June 25 and was alright, allowing two runs over 4.2 innings of work. But this is a guy the Orioles should be able to rack up a few runs against. Come on, boys. Ya gotta support Ubaldo!

Game 2: Tuesday, September 6 at 7:10 p.m. MASN

RHP Yovani Gallardo (4-7, 5.62) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (9-5, 3.56)

Gallardo wasn’t terrible his last time out. He held Toronto to three wins over six innings, a quality start! But he lost anyway. Yovani has won one game since June 29. Not that wins mean much, but that’s bad.

On the other hand, Odorizzi hasn’t lost since July 10, going 6-0 in that time. And he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in that time either. So, this should be interesting. In four games against the O’s this year, Tampa’s right is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA over 22 innings.

Game 3: Wednesday, September 7 at 1:10 p.m. MASN

RHP Dylan Bundy (8-5, 3.47) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (6-11, 4.94)

Another one o’clock game? That’s three in the space of four days. What am I supposed to do with my Wednesday evening now? Simply complain about the Orioles without seeing the game itself? Ridiculous!

Bundy returns to the dome where he made his first major league start. Things didn’t go well that day as he allowed four runs on five hits, three walks and four strikeouts over 3.1 innings. Since then, he has been pretty good, but is prone to giving up gobs of runs at times.

Smyly is an Oriole killer. For his career, he is 4-1 against the Birds with a 3.22 ERA over 44.2 innings. The current crop of Baltimore bats has a slash line of .225/.291/.464 against the southpaw. Perhaps Michael Bourn will get a start. He is 4-for-9 against Smyly.

Other notes

  • The beat reporters are saying that lefty reliever Brian Duensing is set to be activated from the 60-day DL today. No word on who will get the axe from the 40-man roster to make room.
  • Former Oriole Eddie Gamboa is in the Rays bullpen and he finally made his MLB debut on Friday. He allowed a run in one-third of an inning.