|O's want better starts, Rays just want to play better|
The Baltimore Orioles have shown the past two nights that falling behind against good teams doesn't seem to bother them.
Nonetheless, they'll probably try for an easier path to victory when they host the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday for the second game of a three-game set.
But it won't be easy as the Rays send out a top pitcher. Tyler Glasnow will make his second appearance this season. He earned a no-decision despite striking out nine in four innings in a 14-5 win against Atlanta on Monday as he was on a limited pitch count.
What's more, Glasnow was 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA vs. the Orioles in 2019, and has surrendered just three earned runs with 20 strikeouts over 18 career innings against Baltimore.
Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 6.35 ERA) starts for the Orioles. He gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings in his season debut last Sunday, a 7-4 win in Boston. A possible strong back-of-the-rotation guy for the Orioles this season, LeBlanc has a career mark of 0-2 with a 5.17 ERA in three appearances (one start) against the Rays.
The Orioles need some good starts so they don't fall behind like they have the last two games. On Thursday, the Yankees took a 5-0 lead before the Orioles rallied for a 6-5 lead in the eighth. But Aaron Judge hit a three-run homer off Cole Sulser in the top of the ninth for an 8-6 victory.
But after the game, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde made it clear that Sulser would be back.
"I like his stuff," the skipper told the media. "I have confidence in him. (This) just wasn't his night."
On Friday, the Rays jumped to an early 2-0 lead, but Baltimore slowly crawled back. Anthony Santander hit a two-run homer followed by a Pedro Severino solo shot in the fourth. Hanser Alberto hit a solo homer in the eighth to put it away.
It was still a save situation, and as promised Hyde turned to Sulser again. This time, his closer earned his second save.
The Orioles got back first baseman Chris Davis, who was being watched for COVID-19 after showing an elevated temperature. Davis told reporters he had eight negative tests come back, and he came in Friday as a pinch hitter and went 0-for-2 after missing two games.
Then, after the game, the Orioles traded left-hander Richard Bleier to Miami in exchange for a player to be named. Bleier threw three scoreless innings in two games so far this season.
Tampa Bay has struggled at the plate in recent games after tearing things up in the first week. The Rays finished with six hits and 11 strikeouts in their 6-3 loss in Baltimore on Friday and now have scored just eight runs total in their three-game losing streak.
But speaking after Friday's game, manager Kevin Cash told reporters he is more worried about his team's struggling defense (nine errors so far this season) than he is the offense.
"There's frustration mounting. We know we're capable of more," Cash said of the Rays' current three-game skid.
"We just gotta get back to doing what makes us good," he added, "and I think it starts with our defense, making sure we're doing everything defensively. The offense is gonna come. It kind of ebbs and flows. But the defense, that can't happen. We've gotta make sure that we are (as) consistent as any team in baseball defensively. We'll get back to that."
In the Baltimore game, the Rays went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight. They also let the Orioles get a season-high 12 hits.
--Field Level Media