AL East action here as the Baltimore Orioles will play the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night. Tommy Milone will start for the home team here, while Yonny Chirinos takes the hill for Tampa Bay. Oddsmakers have the Rays as a sizable favorite for this one.
Rays Hit Skid?The Tampa Bay Rays were one of the darlings of the 2019 MLB season, but things have been more up and down this time around. They got off to a hot start but started to slide recently, losing three straight games from Wednesday through Friday. They had scored 25 runs in their three games prior to that, so I don't think it's anything to get too concerned about. Yonny Chirinos will get the ball to start here, and he looked pretty darn good in his opener. Facing off against a stacked Braves lineup, he gave up zero earned runs across four innings in his tuneup start.
Hopefully he'll have a longer leash here, and he shouldn't have much difficulty with this Orioles offense. In three games against Baltimore last year Chirinos had a 2.33 ERA across 19 and 1/3 innings. Even in their three-game losing streak the Rays only gave up 15 total runs, which is hardly an eye-popping sum. In short, as long as the Rays can hit here then they should be fine. Second baseman Brandon Lowe has been absolutely raking, with two triples already, and he has an OPS above 1.000 in the early going. If guys like Hunter Renfroe can step up and show off their previously demonstrated power, then the ceiling of this offense is pretty high.
Orioles Better Than Expected?It's been a rough past handful of years for Baltimore Orioles fans, and although expectations weren't too high for 2020, they might be better than people realized. Either that or they've just played a solid first handful of games, like they did last year. I'd lean toward the later scenario being the case. They entered Saturday at 3-3, with two of their losses coming by at least six runs. They'll start veteran lefty Tommy Milone here, who isn't the most inspiring option. The journeyman has been with a new team in each of the last six seasons, and there's a pretty good reason why.
His ERAs the past three years have been, 4.76, 5.81, and 7.63. His first start of this season was just as bad, as he gave up four earned runs and three walks in only three innings of work against the Red Sox. Washed up might be too kind of a term to describe Milone, and the Orioles are barely even trying to win games when throwing him out there. Baltimore has struggled mightily in the division the past couple years, going 18-45 in their last 63 AL East games. They have some intriguing young pieces in their lineup and I'm high on guys like Austin Hays long term. Unfortunately, they're still another year or two away, and Hays is hitting only .130 so far.
Trends, courtesy of Covers.com: Orioles are:
- 18-45 in their last 63 vs. American League East
- 27-61 in their last 88 home games
- 26-8 in their last 34 Sunday games
- 13-5 in their last 18 vs AL East