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Orioles-Rays series preview: A trip to the Trop

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The Orioles head to Tampa Bay for three games before a nine-game home stand. Dylan Bundy, David Hess and Alex Cobb will start for Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Currently sitting at 75-64, Tampa Bay is on the outside looking in for the 2018 playoffs. Still, the Rays have had a great deal of success this year. The team was only two games above .500 at the All Star break, but they’ve been on an impressive run since the Mid-Summer Classic. The Rays are eight games back of the second wild card spot, but they haven’t thrown in the towel quite yet.

The Orioles do not have a winning record against any American League team this season. However, with an 8-8 record, the team has played some of its best baseball against Tampa Bay. Still, Baltimore dropped two-out-of-three games in Tampa Bay August 7-9. All three of the games were decided by one run.

Game One: Friday, 7:10

RHP Dylan Bundy (7-13, 5.36) vs. LHP Blake Snell (17-5, 2.02)

This game will clearly feature the largest gap in starting pitching. Snell has been an absolute monster for Tampa Bay this season. The lefty already has 17 wins, and his ERA may fall below two by the time the game ends.

Believe it or not, Snell’s ugliest loss this year came at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles. The Birds tagged him for five runs on six hits in less than four innings back in May. Baltimore won the game 17-1, and crushed three home runs off of Snell. Snell has only lost two games since, and hasn’t take a loss since July 12.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dylan Bundy did not win a game in July. He’s 0-4 with a 8.51 ERA in his last six starts, and he continues to give up long balls at an alarming rate. Baltimore will likely need to replicate their last performance against Snell if Bundy has any chance of snagging his first win since July 29.

Game two: Saturday, 6:10

RHP David Hess (3-9, 5.27) vs. TBD

David Hess has only won three games this season, but two of those victories were against Tampa Bay. The rookie is 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA in four games against the Rays this season. Hess struggled his last time out, but had put together three strong starts before a loss in Kansas City. He allowed two runs or less and pitched at least six innings in three consecutive starts, but finished 1-2 during that span. It’s tough being a starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles.

The Rays have not announced starters for Saturday or Sunday yet. If Hess can duplicate his success against the Rays this season, and pitch like he did during that three game sequence, it might not matter who the Rays send to the mound.

Game three: Sunday, 1:10

Alex Cobb (5-15, 4.97) vs. TBD

When Baltimore signed Alex Cobb to a lucrative deal at the end of last off season, the team likely hoped Cobb would post a sub-four ERA. After a catastrophic first half, it’s hard to believe Cobb has a chance to finish with an ERA under five. Still, that’s a testament to how well he’s pitched of late. The righty is 3-3 with a 2.35 ERA in the second half. He’s coming off of a six-inning, one-run victory against Seattle. Cobb isn’t striking many batters out, but he’s keeping them in the ballpark and off of the scoreboard.

Cobb is still looking for his first victory against his former team. He’s 0-3 in four starts against the Rays this year. He pitched seven innings of one-run ball his last time out against the Rays, but did not receive a decision. If Baltimore can provide him a few runs, he has a great chance to knock off the Rays this Sunday.

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win in this series?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    3 (Orioles will sweep)
    (1 vote)
  • 14%
    2
    (4 votes)
  • 57%
    1
    (16 votes)
  • 25%
    0 (Orioles will get swept)
    (7 votes)
28 votes total Vote Now