Tampa Bay Rays vs Baltimore Orioles Prediction, Preview & Odds -- August 7, 2021

by Big Al Staff

Game time: 7:05 p.m. ET
Venue: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
Where to watch: Bally Sport Sun, MASN 2

Season-to-date
Rays: 65-44 (1st place, AL East)
Orioles: 38-69 (Last place, AL East)

Recent lineups


Rays:
Randy Arozarena (R) RF
Wander Franco (S) SS
Nelson Cruz (R) DH
Yandy Diaz (R) 1B
Austin Meadows (L) LF
Manuel Margot (R) CF
Brandon Lowe (L) 2B
Francisco Mejia (S) C
Joey Wendle (L) 3B

Orioles:
Cedric Mullins (L) CF
Ramon Urias (R) 2B
Trey Mancini (R) DH
Ryan Mountcastle (R) 1B
Austin Hays (R) LF
DJ Stewart (L) RF
Pedro Severino (R) C
Maikel Franco (R) 3B
Richie Martin (R) SS

Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Rays -240, Orioles -190

Recent form


Rays: Lost two of three to Seattle Mariners, won 4-3 on Wednesday
Orioles: Losers of three of four; lost a combined 23-4 to New York Yankees in last two games

Rays - Orioles Preview


A little bit of a letdown from the Tampa Bay Rays this week following their sweep of the Boston Red Sox.

Tampa Bay rounded into August losing two of three at home to the Seattle Mariners; the losses were by a combined 12-4. Somehow, the Rays didn’t lose ground from first place in the American League East. They’re still 1.5 games up on Boston and 5.5 on the surging New York Yankees.

The Yankees are on a tear. Just ask Tampa’s opponent for this weekend’s three-game series, the Baltimore Orioles. After an impressive 7-1 win at Yankee Stadium Monday, the Bronx Bombers took that moniker seriously with a 13-1 win Tuesday, followed with 10-3 on Wednesday.

Overall, the Rays ended their nine-game homestand 5-4 with some important victories under their belt.

“We knew that this was going to be a grind of a homestand,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We were facing three good teams, all with good records, and we seemed to battle well with the first two and even Seattle. … It is nice to come out of the homestand with a winning record.”

The Rays began a nine-game road trip at Baltimore on Friday.

So maybe those past results are what the Rays need after a lethargic get-together with Seattle. Starter Shane McClanahan is expected to take the mound for the Rays; he carries a 5-4 record with a 3.74 ERA this season. The last time he saw the Orioles on July 20, he had seven strikeouts in five innings of work. Rays catcher Francisco Mejia had five RBI in that game, as well.

Considering that’s only three less than what Tampa did the whole series against Seattle, this is a good time for the Rays to get their bats going.

Fortunately the Rays got that from left fielder Randy Arozarena. The 26-year-old has a hit in all but two games in his last 10, batting .410 with three home runs. He went 7-for-15 in the Seattle series with two homers.

We can’t say the Orioles don’t have talent on offense; Trey Mancini has been a tremendous comeback story, for example, with 19 homers. First-time All-Star Cedric Mullins is batting .323 with 18 home runs. There’s some exciting stuff brewing in Baltimore.

Pitching is why they’re one of the worst teams in baseball. John Means has been the Orioles’ best pitcher at 5-3 with a 2.84 ERA. Then you look at the rest of the rotation.

No other Baltimore starting pitchers have an ERA lower than 4.50.

It’s baffling that the Orioles are that bad on the mound. If they had serviceable pitching in all phases, they might be a run-of-the-mill .500 team on the rise. Matt Harvey has won six games with an ERA of 6.13. And even Harvey is now dealing with knee issues. The stats have been an eyesore, but the saying about looking at an accident rings true in Baltimore.

“Going forward in the outing, I felt I couldn’t quite push off the rubber and stay in my mechanics the way I needed to, especially against a lineup like that,” Harvey said after exiting the fourth inning against New York. “It was frustrating, because I felt so good early in the outing and I wanted to keep us in the game longer and keep the bullpen from being used.”

Spenser Watkins is expected to start for Baltimore, which began their six-game homestand on Friday. They’ll face the Detroit Tigers three times starting Tuesday.

Trends


The Orioles may be good for one game this series. It’s hard to see how they recover heading into this series against the Rays. The starters are going to have to carry them. Baltimore is 1-10 (-9.4 units) following a game where the bullpen allows six or more earned runs.

Following a five-game span when the Orioles’ bullpen has an ERA of 6.50 or worse, they are 3-20.

Meanwhile, the Rays have found ways to actually bounce back. After a five-game stretch where they bat .225 or worse, Tampa is 35-15. As a favorite of -110 or higher this season, the Rays are 41-24.

Prediction


Upsets can happen, but things must really be bad if the Rays can’t rebound for a solid showing against the Orioles. We’d expect the Rays to dominate this weekend, and if it comes down to the bullpen, Tampa’s is the way to go. Rays win, over cashes.

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