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Orioles-Rays series preview: Too early to play spoiler?

With the Rays in the middle of the AL wild card hunt, the Orioles will have four games at Camden Yards to hurt their chances. But who would really be spoiling who?

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After an absolutely brutal stretch, the Orioles bounced back and played some quality baseball against the Royals. Now that another winning ball club is coming to town, how will Baltimore fare?

The Rays will arrive in Baltimore sitting in a decent position in the AL wild card race. There appears to be only three legitimate contenders for the two wild card spots, with the loser of the AL Central (Twins/Indians) battling out the Athletics and Tampa Bay.

One thing that playoff contenders cannot do is squander winning opportunities against last place clubs. But with the Orioles chasing/plummeting towards the 2020 number one draft choice, Baltimore would be spoiling itself and Tampa with a few victories, Still, it would be fun to watch the Orioles build upon their recent momentum in the four-game set.

As of Wednesday evening, the Rays have listed only one starter for the series. With Tampa utilizing the opener consistently this season, it’s not a total surprise that they don’t have their rotation set. You can check out the probable pitcher’s page throughout the week for updates.

Game 1: Thursday, 7:05

RHP Asher Wojciechowski (2-6, 4.78 ERA) vs. LHP Ryan Yarbrough (11-3, 3.34 ERA)

Asher Wojciechowski has not won in four consecutive outings after back-to-back victories to end July. The righty managed a quality start (6 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 5 K) against Houston on August 11, but he did not made it through five innings in any of his other three recent starts.

Wojciechowski turned heads when he struck out 10 Boston hitters during a 5-0 victory back on July 21, but the 30-year-old has not recorded more than six strikeouts in his last five games. He’s allowed at least one home run in all five of those games, and has issued three free passes in four consecutive games.

Ryan Yarbrough enters the game red hot, and has won six consecutive decisions. The Orioles website notes that in his last three outings, Yarbrough has 23 strikeouts, one walk and just a 0.46 ERA. Yarbrough has recently stated he wants to prove he can succeed as a starting pitcher, and he’ll likely maintain that chip on his shoulder against the O’s.

Game 2: Friday, 7:05

LHP Ty Blach (0-1, 12.02) vs. TBD

We’re two starts into the Ty Blach Era in Baltimore, and neither of his outings have inspired a ton of confidence in the former San Francisco Giant. After allowing 7 runs (6 earned) through four innings against the Yankees, Blach actually lowered his ERA in a 5.1 inning, 5 run appearance against Boston on August 18.

Blach is an asset to the Orioles right now because he’s healthy, and holds the stamina to work into the sixth inning if he hasn’t been knocked out. The latter has been a problem so far, but perhaps there’s a quality start hiding in there somewhere. The Orioles would sign up for six innings and three or four runs allowed from Blach every time out. Can he do it against the Rays on Friday?

Game 3: Saturday, 7:05

LHP John Means (8-9, 3.75) vs. TBD

After a tremendous first half, John Means now holds a below .500 record. Part of that comes with playing on a last-place team, but Means has not done himself any favors in a brutal second half.

Means holds a 1-5 record with a 7.48 ERA since the All Star break. He did not allow a hit through the first five innings of his last start, but the Royals broke through with three runs in the sixth inning to hand the lefty a loss. Means did fall victim to some shoddy defense against the Royals, and he certainly flashed some positive signs in the outing. He’ll look to put things back together against the Rays.

Game 4: Sunday, 1:05

RHP Dylan Bundy (5-13, 5.03) vs. TBD

Dylan Bundy will start the series finale Sunday afternoon. Bundy was magnificent his last time out against the Royals, allowing just one run through seven innings. The Royals only run came via a sacrifice fly, and Bundy struck out seven Kansas City batters. The strong outing marked two out of three starts without allowing a home run for Bundy, and avoiding the long ball would definitely behoove him again on Sunday.

Bundy needed only 83 pitches to get through the seven innings, but Brandon Hyde elected not to push him. The Orioles came back and won the game, but Bundy missed out on his first victory since July 23. Another start like the one on Tuesday would all but guarantee a win for the 26-year-old.


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

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    4 (Orioles will sweep)
    (5 votes)
  • 4%
    (5 votes)
  • 28%
    (33 votes)
  • 47%
    (56 votes)
  • 15%
    0 (Orioles will get swept)
    (18 votes)
117 votes total Vote Now