O’s Game Blog: Tyler Wells takes on Tampa Bay

The Orioles lost by one point on Opening Day and by two points yesterday. And now 0-2 for the first time since the 2010 season, they need a win this afternoon at Trop to avoid being swept three in a row by the Tampa Bay Rays.

After two games this season, Tampa Bay, Toronto and the New York Yankees are tied for first at 2-0 in the American League East, and the Orioles and Boston are 0-2.

The O’s offense produced 15 hits on 67 at bats (.224), scoring just four runs in the series. Anthony Santander and Ryan Mountcastle homered. Mountcastle hit No. 1 on Saturday when he drove a Drew Rasmussen slider into right field to score a deuce. The O’s hitters are 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position over the past two days. The Baltimore batters have fanned out 24 times with four walks.

The Orioles have lost 14 straight games to the Rays since last July. They have lost eight straight in St Petersburg and have lost eight straight on the road and 10 of 11 overall since the end of last season. Tampa Bay has won six straight games at home since last September.

Right-hander Tyler Wells (2-3, 4.11 ERA in 2021) made 44 appearances, all in relief, last season, so today will be his first major league start. Selected by the Orioles in Minnesota’s 2020 Rule 5 Draft, he pitched to a 1.59 ERA in spring training. In 11 1/3 innings, he walked four and stoked 14.

Last year, Wells pitched 57 innings, allowing 40 hits with .912 WHIP. He walked 1.9 batters per nine and struck out 10.3. Left-handed batters hit just .167 with a .468 OPS against him, and right-handers hit .206/.675 against Wells.

Wells was brilliant in road games last season, with a 1.14 ERA and .803 WHIP in 23 2/3 innings in which he allowed no homers. He had a 6.21 ERA in 25 home games.

Wells has made four appearances against the Rays in 2021 with a 3.00 ERA. In six innings, he allowed four hits and two no-walk runs and 12 strikeouts.

Two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (5-3, 3.83 ERA in 2021) gets the start for his new team after making 16 starts last season for the New York Yankees. The right-hander Kluber won the Cy Young Awards in 2014 and 2017 with Cleveland. He is one of 19 pitchers to have won at least two of these awards.

The three-time All-Star pitched 80 innings last summer, allowing 74 hits with 1.338 WHIPs, allowing a 0.9 homer rate with 3.7 walks and 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

Kluber turns 36 today and celebrates his birthday by making his 11th career start against the Orioles. He is 5-1 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.127 WHIP in his career in 65 2/3 innings against Baltimore. In three starts last season for the Yankees, he went 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA against the Orioles.

The Orioles return home after the game to host the Milwaukee Brewers Monday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. on Opening Day in Baltimore. It starts a week at home before the club hits the road for a west coast road trip.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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