Legends On Deck

Game of the Week: Rays vs Orioles May 3rd

Moving on in our tour for the Game of the Week series, we find ourselves in Baltimore at the Ballpark at Camden Yards for an American League East showdown, between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles.  This is the second series this season between these two teams.  They faced each other in the season opener with Baltimore taking two out of three in Tampa.

It seems that the American League East is open for any team to take.  At the time of this post there is only two games separating fifth place to first place.  It makes for exciting baseball which will be enjoyable for the players of the teams as well as the fans.

Matchup

The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays have met 299 times so far in their history.  The two teams couldn’t be more even as the Orioles hold the advantage by one game 150-149.  If the record between them wasn’t close enough, the run gap is equally impressive as Tampa has the advantage in that department scoring 1398 to Baltimore’s 1395.

These two teams first faced each other on May 8, 1998.  Doug Drabek started for Baltimore and Tony Saunders for the expansion Rays with the Orioles taking the game 8-2.  Arthur Rhodes picked up the win in relief and Albie Lopez would suffer the loss after giving up four runs in the seventh inning while the Rays were leading 2-1.  Baltimore would rattle off seven unanswered runs against the bullpen and would have a record of 17-16 with Tampa falling to 13-19.

Managers

Kevin Cash is in his first job as a manager at any level.  At the time of this post he has a record of 11-8 which is good for a first place tie with the New York Yankees in the American League East.  As a player Cash was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as an amateur free agent back in 1999.  He played in eight major league seasons with Toronto, Tampa, Boston, New York Yankees, and Houston.  He played in 246 games posting a batting average of .183 with 12 home runs and 58 RBI.  So far he is doing real good job as manager even having some top players out due to injury.

Buck Showalter is in his sixth season as Baltimore Orioles manager and his 17th overall.  He has a career record of 1,268-1,171 post a .520 win percentage.  He spent time on the bench managing the New York Yankees (1992-1995), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2000), Texas Rangers (2003-2006), and Baltimore (2010-).  He is a three-time American League Manager of the Year (’94, ’04, ’14) and has managed the All-Star team once in 1995.

Last season…..

The 2014 Tampa Bay Rays finished 77-85 after four consecutive 90+ win seasons.  That was good for fourth place in the American League East.  Tampa who was mainly the laughing stock for most of their existence has done a tremendous job drafting, developing, and trading players to put themselves into a position to compete with minimal payroll.  A huge hit though was when Joe Maddon fled central Florida to become the manager of the Cubs.  It doesn’t seem to matter currently as Tampa is getting great pitching and putting together wins at a good clip.

Last season…..

The 2014 Baltimore Orioles finished the season 96-66, winning the American League East and storming through the playoffs, only to be swept in the ALCS by the Kansas City Royals.  The 96 wins were the most by the team since the won 98 games in 1997.  It seemed to be a magical season that was cut short too soon.  The loss of Nelson Cruz could be a hit but the team seems to be adjusting.  Having Adam Jones and Chris Davis in the lineup can make any team better.

Top Prospect:

Justin O’Conner was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft by the Tampa Rays out of high school.  He is currently playing for the Montgomery Biscuits in Double-A.  He is struggling a little bit at this level hitting just .154 in 13 games.  He had a decent 2014 campaign for the Biscuits in the 21 games he played, but he is still young and is learning the game.  The 23-year old will most likely stay in Double-A the rest of the way.

Top Prospect: 

Dylan Bundy was drafted in the first round in the 2011 draft by the Orioles.  Bundy is a name that we have heard since he was drafted and are awaiting a long stay in the major leagues.  He came up for a cup of coffee in 2012 but that has been it.  He is currently playing for the Orioles Doubla-A affiliate Bowie Baysox of the Eastern League.  He currently has a record of 0-2 with an ERA of 4.00.  Last season he went 1-3 in Class-A and Class-A advanced.

 

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John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com