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Orioles-Rays series preview: Didn’t we just play these guys?

The two AL East clubs finished a four-game series at Camden Yards 10 days ago. They now play three at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

It’s getting late in the 2018 season now. Less than two months remain, and that means the Orioles are going to be getting real familiar with their division rivals. They just took three out of four from the Rays at Camden Yards in the last week of July, and yet here they are in St. Petersburg, Florida to meet up three more times.

The non-waiver trade deadline has passed since that last series, and both clubs look a little different now. The O’s have, obviously, lost Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day while adding new faces like Jonathan Villar and Evan Phillips to go along with a slew of minor leaguers. Tampa has brought in Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows from the Pirates in the Chris Archer trade. Glasnow will start the first game of the series while Meadows is currently with the Triple-A Durham Bulls. You will not see now Rays outfielder Tommy Pham, however, because he is on the shelf with a foot injury.

Tampa has been one of the most interesting teams in the entire league. They have continually traded away established major league players over the last year in what many thought was a tanking effort. On the contrary, the team has gotten better and even find themselves with a (very) outside chance at a wild card berth.

Trading away Archer left Blake Snell as Tampa’s lone starting pitcher on the 25-man roster. Glasnow enters and looks as if he will get an extended run as an “opener”. The 24-year-old has the stuff to get through a lineup multiple times, but he has been in the Pirates bullpen this season and may need to be stretched out before that can happen.

Game 1

RHP Alex Cobb (3-14, 5.83 ERA) vs RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-2, 4.27 ERA)
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN 2

Cobb is finally showing signs of turning things around. His last outing was impressive: six innings, seven hits, no walks, six strikeouts, one run against the Yankees. Over his last four starts, Cobb has a 2.70 ERA and a .269 batting average against. Whether the O’s are good or not, they need Cobb to eat innings and be an average pitcher these next few seasons. It will protect some of the young guys and allow manager Buck Showalter to utilize the bullpen in the way that he likes to.

If you aren’t familiar with Glasnow, you will be soon. The Rays acquired him with five years of team control left after 2018. The first thing you will notice is that he is a giant, 6-foot-8 to be exact. And he used to be a top prospect for Pittsburgh, but is yet to put it all together in the bigs. His first start for the Rays went well: three innings, one run on two hits, one walk and five strikeouts.

Game 2

Andrew Cashner (3-10, 5.05 ERA) vs TBD (0-0, — ERA)
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN 2

Let’s all just pretend like that last start against the Rangers never happened. Cashner was awful, giving up 10 runs in just 1.2 innings of work. Because of that one game, his season ERA ballooned from 4.33 to 5.05. Like Cobb, the O’s need length out of Cashner. The organization’s top pitching prospects aren’t ready for the bright lights just yet. The duo of Cobb and Cashner may not be exciting, but they are a necessary part of this rebuild’s early stages.

Tampa, like the Orioles, had an off day on Monday, so just about anyone could start this game. Ryne Stanek may be the favorite. The righty has not pitched since August 3, but he got the ball once the last time these two teams met up and things did not go well for him (2.0 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 HR).

Game 3

David Hess (2-6 , 6.41 ERA) vs TBD (0-0, — ERA)
Thursday, 7:10 p.m. ET, MASN

The chances for Hess as a starter may be dwindling. He was bad against the Rangers during his last turn in the rotation, and he has allowed at least five runs in each of his last five starts. That’s not good enough. If this start goes poorly, Hess may prove to be a better fit in the bullpen or as a frequent rider of the Norfolk shuttle.

It looks like it will be yet another “opener” game. Jake Faria just got off of the 60-day DL and is capable of going multiple innings. If not him, perhaps Sergio Romo or Yonny Chirinos? It really is anyone’s guess.

Whoever takes the hill, the Rays will have the advantage. They are sneakily good at home, owning a 32-23 record at Tropicana Field. Meanwhile, the O’s are dreadful away from Camden Yards, sporting a 14-43 road record.

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Rays?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    0 (O’s get swept)
    (17 votes)
  • 53%
    1
    (61 votes)
  • 24%
    2
    (28 votes)
  • 7%
    3
    (8 votes)
114 votes total Vote Now