Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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MLB Preview: Tampa Bay Rays (28-7) at Baltimore Orioles (22-12)


COMEBACK KIDS — The Rays recovered from a 6-0 fifth-inning deficit to stun the visiting Yankees in a 10-inning, 8-7 walk-off win in front of a season-high 32,142 fans at Tropicana Field…CF Jose Siri (1-for-3, HR, RBI, 2R, BB) got Tampa Bay on the board with a solo homer in the fifth ahead of 3B Isaac Paredes’ (2-for-5, 2B, 2RBI, R) RBI-double in the sixth…C Christian Bethancourt (1-for-4, HR, 3RBI, R) launched a game-tying, three-run homer in the sixth to knot the score at 6-6 before 1B Yandy Díaz (1-for-4, RBI, R, BB) provided a go-ahead RBI-groundout later in the frame…after the Yankees pushed across the tying run in the seventh, Paredes delivered a walk-off single in the 10th.

RHP Javy Guerra (1.0IP, H, BB) made his second career start as an opener for LHP Josh Fleming (5.0IP, 7H, 6ER, 4BB, SO, 2HR), who allowed season highs in runs and walks…he had not allowed a homer in 22.2 IP this season prior to the outing.

The victory marked Tampa Bay’s third walk-off win of the season, tied for second most in the majors behind Boston (4)…it also marked the first time the Rays have won a game after trailing by 6+ runs since 9/6/21 at Boston (trailed 7-1, won 11-10).

The Rays are one of six teams since 1901 to win 28 of their first 35 games, including the first since the 1984 Detroit Tigers (30-5)…Tampa Bay’s 19-3 mark at Tropicana Field matches MLB’s best 22-game home start since 1901 (7x, last: 1980 LAD).

RECENT TRANSACTIONS — Prior to tonight’s game, the Rays recalled RHP Trevor Kelley from Triple-A Durham and placed LHP Garrett Cleavinger on the 15-day injured list with a right knee sprain.

IT STARTS WITH SHANE — The Rays are 7-0 in games started by LHP Shane McClanahan…it marks the second-longest team winning streak in a pitcher’s starts to open a season in Rays history, behind only Matt Moore’s nine-start run in 2013…also ties the longest such streak of his career (also 5/5-6/9, 2022) and matches the fourth-longest single-season streak in Rays history (longest: Blake Snell, 10GS from 8/10-9/29, 2018).

McClanahan and ATL Spencer Strider (7-0) are the only MLB pitchers with 7+ starts whose teams are undefeated in their starts.

CLOSE SHAVES — Tampa Bay has gone 7-2 in one-run games, the second-best record in the majors behind Miami (11-0)…the seven one-run victories are tied for third most in the AL and tied for fifth most in MLB…in 2022, the Rays were an even 27-27 in one-run games, participating in the fourth most one-run contests (54G) in the majors behind Miami (64G), New York-AL (58G) and Seattle (56G).

Each of the Rays last four games have been decided by one run…marks their first time playing in four consecutive one-run contests since 6/21-25, 2022 (4G).

THE BAY BOMBERS — The Rays have hit a major league-best 71 home runs, the second-most long balls through a club’s first 35 games in MLB history (since 1901), trailing only the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals (74HR)…Tampa Bay has out-homered opponents, 71-23 (+48)…its 23 homers allowed are the fewest in the majors, ahead of Seattle (24HR).

The Rays homered in each of their first 22 games, the longest streak to open a season in MLB history…marked the longest home run streak at any point in a single season since the 2019 Houston Astros (25G, 9/1-29, 2019).

The Rays have an MLB-best nine players with 5+ homers, ahead of San Francisco and Atlanta (6 each)…they join Los Angeles-NL as the only two clubs with four players who have each hit 7+ home runs.

Tampa Bay has an MLB-best 20 multi-homer games — its 18-2 (.900) mark when hitting 2+ homers is the third-best such record in the majors behind Pittsburgh (1.000, 13-0) and Atlanta (.929, 13-1)…last season, the Rays 34 multi-homer games were tied for fifth-fewest in the majors.

Of the Rays 71 homers, 38 have traveled 400+ feet (53.5%)…marks the most 400+ foot homers in the majors, ahead of Atlanta (36HR)…Tampa Bay’s 18 go-ahead home runs pace the AL, trailing only Los Angeles-NL (20HR) in all of MLB.

LEADING THE PACK — The Rays pace the majors in runs scored (225) while surrendering the fewest runs (110)…Tampa Bay’s +115 run differential is the second-best mark through the first 35 games of a season in MLB history (since 1901), trailing only the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates (+127)…the 1902 Pirates also hold the record through 36 games (+123).

NO APRIL FOOLS — The Rays 22 wins in April tied the club record for most victories in a single month (also 22-6 in May 2021)…their +99 run differential (191-92) was the best in a calendar month in club history, and best by any MLB team since Oakland in Sept. 2000 (+110)…per Elias, the Rays out-homered opponents 59-19 (+40) in April, the highest HR differential in a single month in MLB history, ahead of Toronto in May 2010 (+37, 54-17).

Tampa Bay’s 59 April homers were the most in a calendar month in franchise history, ahead of May 2017 (52HR)…its 191 runs scored were also its most in a month in Rays history, ahead of May 2009 (184R).

TOUGH ROAD AHEAD — Twenty-six of Tampa Bay’s 29 games during the month of May are against clubs that have a .500 record or better…Tampa Bay is 11-5 (.688) against teams that currently have a .500 or better record, the best winning pct. in MLB, ahead of Milwaukee (12-7, .632).

CONSISTENCY IS KEY — Randy Arozarena is riding an 18-game on-base streak dating back to 4/17, slashing .357/.425/.671 (25-for-70) with two doubles, one triple, 6 HR and 13 RBI in that span…it marks the second-longest on-base streak of his career (19G: 7/23- 8/20, 2021)…no Rays hitter has had a longer streak since Ji-Man Choi’s 20-game run from 5/28-6/22, 2022.

The 18-game streak is tied with BOS Triston Casas for the third-longest active run in the majors behind HOU Yordan Alvarez (32G) and COL Jurickson Profar (19G).

ON THE MOUND — Tampa Bay’s 3.01 ERA is the best mark in the majors, ahead of Houston (3.32)…this includes the best starter ERA (2.93) and the third-best bullpen ERA (3.10)…Rays pitchers pace the majors in opponents’ OPS (.617), opponents’ average (.209), fewest pitches per IP (15.68) and WHIP (1.13).

IN THE BOX — Rays hitters lead MLB in OPS (.869), OBP (.348), SLG (.521), batting average (.276), extra-base hits (142), total bases (621) and home runs per game (2.03).

BATTLE FOR THE EAST — Tampa Bay and Baltimore open a 13-game season series tonight at Oriole Park…the Rays have won six consecutive season series over the Orioles since 2017, the longest streak over Baltimore in club history…Tampa Bay is 68-37 (.648) against BAL since 2017, its most wins over any opponent in that stretch ahead of Toronto (63).

Following a club-record 15-game winning streak over the Orioles from 7/20/21 – 4/10/22, the Rays are 7-9 in their last 16 games against Baltimore, including a 3-7 mark on the road in that span.


SUGAR SHANE — The southpaw makes his eighth start tonight, including his fourth on the road…will make his eighth career start against the Orioles…is looking to become the first Rays pitcher to begin a season 6-0 since Charlie Morton started the 2019 season 8-0.

SMOOTH SAILING — McClanahan improved to 6-0 in his last start on 5/3 vs. Pittsburgh…he tossed 6.0 innings, allowing one run on five hits and two walks with nine strikeouts…he improved to 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA (13.0IP, 2ER) and 19 strikeouts against two walks in two career starts against the Pirates.

SWING AND MISS STUFF — On 4/22 vs. Chicago-AL, McClanahan tied the fifth most whiffs in an outing by any pitcher in MLB’s pitch-tracking era (since 2008)…his 65.3 pct. whiff rate (32 misses, 49 swings) was the highest by any pitcher in a single game in the pitch-tracking era (min. 25 swings).

NO HOMETOWN DISCOUNT — McClanahan, a Baltimore native, is 5-0 with a 2.45 ERA (40.1IP, 11ER) and 45 strikeouts in seven career starts against the Orioles.

He made his first career Opening Day start at Baltimore on 4/8/22 and did not factor into the decision after throwing 4.1 scoreless innings, scattering four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.

In 26 career starts against AL East opponents, McClanahan is 13-6 with a 2.66 ERA (142.1IP, 42ER), striking out 159 batters against 39 walks while holding opponents to a .225 batting average (119-for-530).

ALL I DO IS WIN — McClanahan earned a win in each of his first four starts this season, becoming the third pitcher in Rays history to accomplish the feat, joining Matt Moore (5GS, 4/5-27/13) and Tyler Glasnow (4GS, 3/30- 4/16, 2019)…the streak marked his most consecutive starts with a win since a five-start run from 5/17-6/9, 2022.

With a win tonight, McClanahan can surpass his career-best six game winning streak from 5/5-6/9, 2022.

McClanahan ranks among major league leaders in wins (1st, 6), ERA (6th, 2.03), strikeouts (7th, 51) and opponents’ average (9th, .193).

CAN’T TOUCH THIS — McClanahan’s 38.7 percent whiff rate paces MLB, ahead of ATL Spencer Strider (38.6%) and LAA Shohei Ohtani (36.4%)… opponents are swinging at 36.2 percent of his pitches outside of the strike zone, the fifth-highest chase rate in baseball…McClanahan has also been effective on pitches inside the zone, recording the third-highest in-zone whiff percent in MLB (27.0%), trailing only ATL Spencer Strider (29.4%) and LAA Shohei Ohtani (27.9%).

ABOVE THE CURVE — He is holding opponents to a .130 batting average (3-for-23) and producing a 43.1 whiff percentage on his curveball…among
MLB starters (min. 25 PA), only SD Blake Snell (.120) has produced a lower opponent batting average on his curveball…under the same parameters, McClanahan’s .130 opponent average on his curveball is the fourth lowest among all MLB pitchers, trailing only HOU Phil Maton (.000) and COL Jake Bird (.040).

WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK — McClanahan’s 9.68 runs of support are second most in the majors behind LAA Patrick Sandoval (10.61)…in his career, the Rays are 29-3 when providing him with three-or-more runs of support (6-0 in 2023), compared to 8-20 with two-or-fewer runs of support.

FULL SPEED AHEAD — McClanahan’s four-seam fastball has clocked in at an average velocity of 97.0 mph this season, second-fastest among AL starting pitchers’ fastballs behind LAA Shohei Ohtani (97.3 mph) and tied for fifth-fastest among MLB starters (min. 500 FB thrown).


YESTERDAY’S NEWS: The Orioles fell to the Braves, 3-2 in 12 innings, in yesterday’s series finale at Truist Park…Marked their first series loss since dropping two of three against the Yankees at Oriole Park from April 7-9…Snapped their seven-series winning streak, the longest streak since the team won eight series in a row from July 21 to August 13, 2014…Fell to 3-3 in rubber matches, snapping a three-game winning streak in such games…Finished the longest road trip of the season 6-4 against the Tigers (3-1), Royals (2-1), and Braves (1-2).

FEELS GOOD TO BE HOME: After wrapping up their longest road trip of the season, the Orioles will play 10 games at Oriole Park in 11 days, their longest homestand of the season, beginning tonight with the first of three games against the Rays through Wednesday…The O’s have a scheduled off day on Thursday before taking on the Pirates for three games this weekend…They will then host the Angels for four games beginning Monday to conclude the homestand.

OPENING STATEMENTS: Baltimore is 11-0 in series openers to begin the 2023 campaign, the only team to have won all of their series openers this season…Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the streak of 11 consecutive series-opening victories to begin a season is the longest in Orioles history and tied for the third-longest such streak by any MLB team with the 1883 and 1890 Philadelphia Athletics, 1959 Cleveland Indians, and 1973 San Francisco Giants, trailing a streak of 19 straight series-opening wins by the 1907 Chicago Cubs and a 12-game streak by the 1919 New York Giants…It is tied for the longest streak at any point in a season in O’s history, done three times prior: August 30 to September 30, 1974; May 23 to June 20, 1978; and May 16 to June 18, 1980.

WHAT’S TRENDING: The O’s have won 14 of their last 19 games, 16 of their last 22, and 18 of their last 25…The 22-12 overall record is the third-best in MLB to start the season (see box at right).

Last season, the Birds didn’t reach 22 wins until the 52nd game on June 1 (22- 30); they did not reach 23 wins until the 55th game on June 4 (23-32).

The Orioles are 70-49 since July 1, 2022, a 95-win pace; the .588 winning percentage during that time is the fourth-best in the AL and sixth-best in MLB, trailing the Dodgers (.697, 85-37), Braves (.675, 81-39), Astros (.620, 75-46), Rays (.607, 74-48), and Mariners (.593, 70-48).

AGAINST THE RAYS: Baltimore and Tampa Bay meet for the first time this season with this week’s three-game set…The Orioles will travel to Tampa Bay for two games from June 20-21 and four games from July 20-23 before hosting the Rays for four games from September 14-17…The O’s went 9-10 against Tampa Bay last year, 7-3 at Oriole Park and 2-7 at Tropicana Field…The season series was not decided until the 19th and final game on August 14 in Tampa Bay.

ON THE ATTACK: Baltimore ranks fourth in the AL and sixth in MLB with 186 runs scored after finishing 10th in the AL and 20th in MLB with 674 runs in 2022…The Birds rank among AL teams in walks (1st, 136), slugging percentage (4th, .423), OPS (4th, .758), and on-base percentage (T-4th, .336).

The Orioles rank tied with Seattle for first in the AL and fifth in MLB with 4.00 pitches per plate appearance; the O’s have five players in the top 21 in the AL in pitches per plate appearance: Adley Rutschman (5th, 4.297), Gunnar Henderson (4th, 4.27), Anthony Santander (14th, 4.11), Cedric Mullins (20th, 4.068), and Adam Frazier (21st, 4.064).

AY, TONE: Anthony Santander has recorded six straight multi-hit games since May 2, the longest such streak in MLB this season…He is the first O’s batter with six consecutive multi-hit performances since José Iglesias, who had seven in a row from August 15 to September 2, 2020…The Orioles record (since 1954) is 10 straight multi-hit games by Bob Nieman in 1958 and Rich Dauer in 1978…Since the start of last season, Santander is the eighth player in MLB with multiple hits in at least six consecutive games, and first since New York-NL’s Jeff McNeil did so in six in a row from September 27 to October 4 (G1), 2022.

Five of his last eight hits have gone for extra bases (2-2B, 3 HR).

Recorded multiple extra-base hits in back-to-back games from May 5-6 for the fourth time in his career, joining August 8-10, 2021; August 24-25, 2021; and September 26-27, 2022.

Became the fourth Orioles hitter with multiple extra-base hits in two straight games this season, joining Adam Frazier from March 30 to April 2, Austin Hays from April 10-11, and Ryan Mountcastle from April 30 to May 2.

Had his multi-XBH streak snapped yesterday and has yet to record multiple extra-base hits in three straight games; since 1954, the only Orioles to have done so are Orioles Legend and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (4G, 9/19-22/66 & 3G, 7/19-21/66), Orioles Legend and Hall of Famer Eddie Murray (3G, 9/12- 14/80), Javy López (3G, 7/26-29/04), and Cedric Mullins (3G, 6/5-8/21).

KING OF THE CASTLE: Ryan Mountcastle had his 15-game on-base streak snapped yesterday after going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts; marked the longest streak by an O’s batter this season and the second-longest on-base streak of his career behind a 17-gamer from July 28 to August 26, 2021.

HE GETS ON BASE: Adley Rutschman has reached base safely 63 times this year (35 H, 28 BB), which is tied with Toronto’s Matt Chapman for first in the AL…Rutschman also leads the AL in walks and ranks fifth in on-base percentage (.406).

14th career appearance (13th start) against the Rays tonight…Became the first O’s pitcher in club history (since 1954) to start and win each of his three first appearances with the team…Started a season 4-0 for the second time in his career, joining a 6-0 start with Texas in 2021; became the fifth Oriole starting pitcher since 2004 to begin a year 4-0, joining John Means (4-0 in 2021), Bud Norris (4-0 in 2013), Wei-Yin Chen (4-0 in 2012), and Erik Bedard (4-0 in 2006)… In 274 career appearances (268 GS), Gibson owns a 93-92 record with a 4.52 ERA (776 ER/1545.0 IP)…The O’s signed Gibson to a one-year contract on December 5, 2022…He has also spent time with the Twins, Phillies, and Rangers across 10 Major League seasons.

LAST TIME OUT: Dealt his first loss of the season on May 3 at Kansas City… Allowed six runs on 10 hits (1 HR), both season highs, in 6.2 innings of work at Kauffman Stadium…Did not record a strikeout or a walk in a start for the first time in his career…Threw 74 pitches, 49 strikes.

CAREER AGAINST THE RAYS: Making his 14th career appearance (13th start) against the Rays…Sports a 6-5 record with a 4.35 ERA (34 ER/70.1 IP) through his first 13 career games against the AL East foe…Earned the win in his last outing against Tampa Bay on June 4, 2021 with Texas, working 5.1 scoreless innings on five hits with five strikeouts…Threw 73 pitches, 49 strikes…Has won five straight starts against the Rays, pitching to a 1.67 ERA (6 ER/32.1 IP) while holding opposing batters to a .225 (27-for-120) batting average in those games.

CAREER AGAINST THE AL EAST: Making his 56th career appearance (55th start) against the AL East…Owns a 22-19 record with a 4.60 ERA (159 ER/311.0 IP), 248 strikeouts, and 20 quality starts through his first 55 career games against the division…Made his Orioles debut and second career Opening Day start in his last outing against the AL East on March 30 at Boston…Allowed four runs on six hits with one walk, a hit batter, and three strikeouts in 5.0 innings…Threw 79 pitches, 53 strikes…Recorded a then career-high 11 strikeouts on May 8, 2019 at Toronto with Minnesota…Threw a career-high 120 pitches on July 26, 2018 at Boston with Minnesota…Victorious in five of his last seven starts against AL East foes since the beginning of the 2021 season.

HOME COOKING: Making his third home start of the 2023 campaign tonight… Earned the win in his last start at Oriole Park on April 22 vs. Detroit after allowing one run on two hits (1 HR) with three walks and a career-high-tying 11 strikeouts in 6.1 innings…Threw 96 pitches, 59 strikes…Also earned the win in his Orioles home debut on April 10 vs. Oakland, surrendering one run on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work…Threw 92 pitches, 57 strikes… Owns a 48-48 record with a 4.48 ERA (381 ER/765.0 IP) and 58 quality starts in 135 career home appearances (133 GS).

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