Orioles welcome the Rays

Jays, A’s now the Rays.

Sometimes I think the schedule makers like to have a little fun.

Jeremy Hellickson takes his 2.38 ERA into Camden Yards tonight to face an Orioles team that has not beaten him in two attempts. Hell, the Orioles have not scored a run against the young starter in 14 innings. He will go up against the Orioles’ hurler Jake Arrieta looking for his eighth win of the year which in a surprising bit of information would tie him for the league lead with Jon Lester. I’m not sure if that is more telling of Arrieta’s talent or the futility of wins as a stat. But hey, before I completely discount the potential feat – if you have eight wins in June it means you are doing something right especially on a team that has had trouble scoring runs consistently like the Orioles.

This is a very important series for the Orioles. After an off day the Orioles need to keep the momentum up and build off the Oakland series. The Orioles did not score a lot of runs that series and they will probably need to score some more against the much better Rays team. Having just typed that I think I can honestly say that is an understatement. What made the Oakland series so great was that for the first time in awhile we saw the Orioles completely handle a team they SHOULD handle fairly easily. There has been no logical reason for the Athletics to dominate the Orioles like they have over the last decade or so. Especially on the west coast. It had me at a loss, even had Orioles center fielder Adam Jones at a loss when I asked him that very question on Tuesday.

The Rays are scuffling a bit, playing right around .500 over the month. During that time the team is batting a collective .236 with an OBP of .302 and an OPS of .680. While the Orioles offense certainly hasn’t been setting the world on fire it has certainly been better than the collective efforts of the Rays.

The Orioles will have to do without Derrek Lee this weekend as he will be attending his Grandfather’s funeral, and our condolences and thoughts go out to him and his family. Meanwhile in Baltimore that means Luke Scott will probably get some time at first against righties and recent call-up Brandon Snyder will most likely get the start against the lefty David Price tomorrow night.

The Orioles sit two games under .500 and the Rays sit between them and getting back. I am not expecting a continuation of the win-streak for another three games, especially going up against Hellickson and Price the next two days, but the Orioles have been playing very good baseball recently especially from the starters and the bullpen and if that can be maintained over the next couple of series we could see this team string together a nice little run of victories.

Other thoughts:

The Red Sox are currently 10 games over .500. Amazing. We all knew that the Red Sox would figure it out, but not like this. Since the end of April the Sox are 25-11, that is a .697 win percentage and that includes a 6-0 record against the Yankees over that time frame.

Speaking of the Yankees, they are in trouble. Joba Chaimberlain will need Tommy John surgery making an already thin middle relief corp just a little bit weaker. The Yankees need to lean on their bats and CC just a little bit more and that looks to be a little bit more problematic than it would be in years past.

The Athletics came into Baltimore with a six game losing streak and left Baltimore with a nine game losing streak, and a new manager. After getting swept by the Orioles the A’s fired their manager Bob Geren. Last year the Marlins fired Fredi Gonzalez after losing to the Orioles. I’m not quite sure what that says about us. The A’s welcomed Bob Melvin with their 10th straight loss.

Funny thing through the season so far. The Orioles are two games under .500. yet, they have a .500 or better record against nine of the 13 teams they have played so far. Of the four teams they have a losing record against (Cleveland [0-3], Texas[1-2], New York[0-6] and Toronto[1-2]) they are a combined 2-13, against the rest of the teams the Orioles are 27-18. Probably means nothing other than being a function of the Orioles’ streakiness thus far this season. Also, three of those four losing records came against teams that were in first place at the time of the series.