HEADLINE

Hot-hitting Rays ready to welcome Orioles

Field Level Media

April 15, 2019 at 11:22 pm.

The Tampa Bay Rays have gotten off to a great start, posting a 12-4 record and the best winning percentage in baseball.

Now, the Rays come home Tuesday night to face a team that has been a mild surprise — the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles.

Tampa Bay is coming off of a solid 7-2 road trip, and the Rays won five of six games last week. On the trip, the Rays took two of three from both the Giants and Blue Jays and swept the White Sox.

The offense scored 56 runs in those nine games, averaging seven runs per contest. It’s the kind of hitting that manager Kevin Cash wants to see.

“That’s kind of the goal, you want to hit the ball as hard as possible as much as you can,” Cash said to the Tampa Bay Times.

Outfielder Austin Meadows, one of the young players helping the Rays, was named the American League Player of the Week on Monday. He posted a .545 average with four homers and 12 RBIs as Tampa Bay won five of six games last week.

The pitching also has been solid, as the Rays’ 2.44 ERA was tops in baseball through the weekend.

Tyler Glasnow has helped, and he will start against the Orioles Tuesday.

Glasnow is 3-0 with an 0.53 ERA so far this season. It’s the first time he’s faced Baltimore this season, and Glasnow has allowed only one run so far this season in 17 innings pitched.

Plus, he’s struck out 21 with only three walks. The right-hander is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA against the Orioles in one career appearance.

Dylan Bundy (0-1, 8.76 ERA) starts for Baltimore against Glasnow. Bundy’s struggles from 2018 have carried over into this season — especially when it comes to allowing the long ball.

Bundy gave up four homers in four innings in his last start April 11 versus Oakland, and he now has allowed six in just 12 1/3 innings. Last season, he led the American League by giving up 41 homers.

This will be his first appearance against Tampa Bay this season. The right-hander has a 3-4 career record and a 6.30 ERA versus the Rays.

The Orioles come to Tampa Bay having been surprisingly competitive so far for a team that’s basically turned over everything since last year.

Baltimore is coming off splitting a four-game road series with World Series champion Boston, the last game being an 8-1 victory on Monday afternoon. New manager Brandon Hyde told MLB.com after Monday’s game that he’s happy with the way his team has been in so many games so far.

“I love the way we compete,” he said. “I love the way we grind out at-bats. It’s a team effort, and guys are really pulling for each other. Obviously, I wish our record was better, but I’m happy with how we’re going about our business.”

Chris Davis finally ended his long hitless streak over the weekend in Boston, and he hit his first homer of the season Monday, a two-run blast that helped the Orioles take charge. Curiously, despite his slow start, Davis now is fourth on the team in RBIs with eight after the win.

Dwight Smith Jr. has been one of the Orioles’ better hitters so far, and he homered and drove in four during Monday’s victory.