The Tampa Bay Rays carry their winning ways north to Baltimore for Tuesday’s opener of a three-game series with the Orioles.
Hosting both New York clubs last week, the Rays didn’t start their six-game homestand on the right foot. But after scoring just one run in two losses to the Yankees, the Rays scored nine runs to win that series’ finale on Thursday and added 22 more runs during a weekend sweep of the Mets.
Manager Kevin Cash said his team put it all together before hitting the road in the American League East.
“We just had a really good series against a Mets team that was coming in pretty hot,” said Cash of the four-game winning streak. “As a team — offense, defense, pitching — we do feel like we’re playing well.”
Facing Baltimore for the first time in his career, 21-year-old Luis Patino (1-1, 1.54 ERA) will start in this season’s first meeting between the division opponents.
The flame-throwing right-hander has found a role for himself either as the opener or in middle relief and is fulfilling the potential he showed during his tenure as an elite prospect with the San Diego Padres.
Baltimore, meanwhile, scored its second-highest run total of the season in Sunday’s 10-6 home win over the New York Yankees — just its second win in the past nine games.
The club’s high mark was set on April 4 in an 11-3 road win over the Boston Red Sox.
The last-place Orioles will finish up a six-game homestand versus a Tampa Bay squad that has held a winning record against them in each of the last four seasons. Baltimore is just 27-40 against the Rays since 2017.
With pitcher workload and innings management both issues with the Orioles, manager Brandon Hyde gave ace John Means extra rest by not using him against the Yankees, taking advantage of Monday’s off day and pushing him back to Wednesday.
Means, who tossed his first career no-hitter on May 5 against the Seattle Mariners, registered a no-decision last Tuesday after firing six scoreless innings against the New York Mets in a 3-2 walk-off loss.
Instead, right-hander Matt Harvey (3-3, 4.81 ERA) will take the mound in the series opener Tuesday night.
Against his former Mets mates a night after Means pitched, Harvey took the loss after being socked for seven runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Harvey, 32, has never faced the Rays during his nine-year career.
In Sunday’s comeback win, Baltimore native Bruce Zimmermann (2-3) tossed 5 2/3 innings of long relief to put his side in position to overtake the Yankees. The left-hander struck out six and allowed only three baserunners.
Hyde said the effects of dialing back the innings paid off with Zimmermann’s performance.
“It shows how the little bit of the rest did some good there,” Hyde said. “He stayed strong all the way through that outing.”
–Field Level Media