The Tampa Bay Rays aim to continue their dominance of the Orioles on Friday when they begin a nine-game road trip with the opener of a three-game series in Baltimore.
The American League-leading Rays started their current 10-5 surge over the last 15 games with a pair of victories over the Orioles. Those wins improved Tampa Bay to 8-1 in the season series against Baltimore.
For all of their success versus the Orioles, the Rays didn’t have any in their first six games against the Seattle Mariners before eking out a 4-3 win on Wednesday.
“It felt really good. Guys are joking in the clubhouse, like, ‘No one season-sweeps us. They may get one series sweep, but they don’t do it again,'” starter Josh Fleming said. “It was just nice to get the win going into the off-day and going into the long road trip.”
Randy Arozarena ripped a two-run triple in the third inning on Wednesday to continue his torrid stretch. He is batting a sterling .458 (11-for-24) with six extra-base hits (two doubles, a triple, three homers) in his last six games.
“I’ve been feeling really good,” Arozarena said through team translator Manny Navarro, per the Tampa Bay Times.
“I know it’s a very long season, you have your ups and downs, but I try to stick to my same preparation, the same routine that I told you guys before.”
Arozarena hasn’t been shy about flexing his muscles against Baltimore this season. He is hitting a robust .459 (17-for-37) with seven homers, 16 RBIs and 13 runs scored in the series.
The 26-year-old Arozarena is 3-for-7 with a pair of solo homers in his career versus Friday starter John Means (5-3, 2.84 ERA).
Means, 28, picked up his first win since May 5 on Saturday after allowing one run on four hits in six innings of a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
“John Means looked like he did in April. This was early-season form,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said of the left-hander, who posted a 3-0 record with a 1.70 ERA in that month.
Means owns a 3-2 record with a 4.38 ERA in seven career appearances (six starts) against Tampa Bay. The left-hander surrendered five runs on seven hits — including two homers — in five innings of a 9-3 loss to the Rays on July 20.
The Rays will turn to left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (6-4, 4.58) for the series opener.
Yarbrough, 29, is 1-1 with a 5.60 ERA in three starts this season versus the Orioles. He is 4-2 with a 3.94 ERA in 11 career appearances (six starts) against Baltimore, although Trey Mancini (7-for-22, three homers, eight RBIs) has been a thorn in his side.
Mancini has struggled of late however, going 0-for-12 with five strikeouts in his last three games. He fanned three times in the Orioles’ 10-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday.
Ryan Mountcastle went deep on Wednesday to match Mancini with a team-leading 19 homers. Mountcastle is batting .464 (13-for-28) with three homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored during his seven-game hitting streak.
–Field Level Media