The Rays will start their second series of the young season on the road by facing division rivals, the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles lead the all time head-to-head series by one victory (158-157). It should be an interesting series as both teams look to try and claim first place in the early part of the season. The Rays are coming off a good series against the Toronto Blue Jays. They won two games out of a 4 game series. Now, the Orioles swept the Minnesota Twins in a calm fashion. It will be an AL East showdown that the fans will look back on down the road near playoff time.
Next, game number one will be a battle of two quality starters that will look to make each other blink first. Those two are Chris Archer (0-1, 3.60 ERA, 12 K’s) and Chris Tillman (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 K’s). Archer is coming off a good start despite walking into trouble in the first inning against the Blue Jays. After the first inning, he settled down and was on a groove. On the other hand, Tillman only pitched 2 solid innings due to rain delays. Tillman will look to get on the winning sign again against the Rays, which he did in last year’s Opening Day, but struggled in his other starts against Tampa during the 2015 season.
Furthermore, game number two is my rubber match between the south paw Drew Smyly (0-1, 6.75 ERA, 5 K’s) and right hander Mike Wright (season debut). Wright had an up and down 2015 campaign by finishing with a record of 3-5, ERA just over six (6.04), striking out 26 batters in 44.2 innings. Now, Smyly did not look good by giving up three crucial home runs in 6.2 innings of work. Hopefully, the lefty can bounce back and help get the Rays a big win.
However, Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 1.59 ERA, 10 K’s) will take the mound for the Rays to close out the three-game series. The Orioles have not decided who will pitch for them in game three. From how the rotation has gone so far, it looks like it should be Yovani Gallardo (1-0, 1.80, 4 K’s). Odorizzi looked good in his first start of the year and will hope to continue his recent dominance against the Orioles. Now, Gallardo is a tough pitcher, but the Rays should be able to get to him, but if Gallardo is on his game, it is going to be a long day for those Rays hitters.
Finally, the one hitter from both teams to lookout for are former Oriole Steve Pearce, who has shown power surges in Camden Yards by hitting 25 homers in 469 plate appearances and former Rays prospect Joey Rickard, who was a rule 5 selection this past off-season by the Orioles. He has started his MLB career off with a bang by picking up his first two career RBIs, which has resulted in a .455 batting average.
Other Notable Hitters: Steven Souza Jr. with 3 homers, 5 RBIs, also batting .400 (Rays) and Mark Trumbo with a .455 batting average (Orioles).