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Saturday afternoon Orioles game thread: at Rays, 4:10

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In the middle game of a three-game series on the road, the O’s will try to beat the Rays for the first time this year.

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays
The O’s Maikel Franco covers third base as Rays catcher Mike Zunino slides into the bag.
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Orioles have yet to win a game against the Rays this season, entering play today with a 0-4 record against the AL East leaders and having been outscored 16-36 in those four games.

Jorge Lopez will toe the rubber for Baltimore this afternoon at Tropicana Field, and his 4.26 ERA on the road is nearly two runs lower than his ERA at home this year. In his past two starts, Lopez has a 3.27 ERA over 11 innings pitched.

While the O’s right-hander pitched much better in May than he did in April, he’s still allowing a lot of baserunners. So far in 2021, he’s averaging 8.8 H/9 and 4.0 BB/9, which comes out to a 1.43 WHIP.

Remember when Tampa Bay starting pitcher Rich Hill was an Oriole? That was all the way back in 2009, long before Hill began enjoying his career renaissance. In his lone season with the O’s, the lefty put up a 7.80 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts) covering 57.2 innings. He’s come quite a ways since then.

In 103 games since 2016, Hill has a 3.01 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 1.08 WHIP, and 10.2 SO/9. In 12 starts this year with the Rays, he’s got a 3.05 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 0.98 WHIP, and 9.1 SO/9.

The Orioles faced the 41-year-old left-hander on May 20 at Camden Yards and he got the best of that matchup. Hill was effectively wild while stifling the O’s bats, allowing one run, two hits, and four walks with four strikeouts over six innings.

Yet coincidentally, the O’s have fared better against left-handed pitchers than right-handers this season, with OPS marks of .807 and .659, respectively.

Orioles lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins CF
  2. Trey Mancini 1B
  3. Anthony Santander DH
  4. Ryan Mountcastle LF
  5. Austin Hays RF
  6. Freddy Galvis SS
  7. Maikel Franco 3B
  8. Pat Valaika 2B
  9. Austin Wynns C

RHP Jorge Lopez

Rays lineup

  1. Brandon Lowe 2B
  2. Yandy Diaz 1B
  3. Taylor Walls SS
  4. Austin Meadows DH
  5. Joey Wendle 3B
  6. Manuel Margot LF
  7. Kevin Kiermaier CF
  8. Mike Zunino C
  9. Brett Phillips RF

LHP Rich Hill