The Tampa Bay Rays visit the Baltimore Orioles on Friday for the teams’ first meeting of the season in a matchup of veteran starting pitchers.
Rays left-hander Blake Snell (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will face off with Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb (1-0, 1.69 ERA).
Snell will make his second start of the season after throwing two shutout innings in the Rays’ 6-5 win over Toronto on Sunday. He is working his way back after elbow surgery last summer, and Tampa Bay hopes Snell will rediscover the form that helped him win the American League Cy Young Award two years ago.
“I’m just making sure I’m not rushing into it too much,” Snell said recently, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “I want to make sure that I’m doing the right things and that I’m very well prepared to finish this sprint of a season strong.”
Snell has a 2-2 career record and a 4.67 ERA versus the Orioles.
Cobb threw a strong game last weekend as the Orioles beat the Red Sox in his season debut. Like Snell, surgery cut short his season in 2019. The hip operation limited him to three games in which he went 0-2 with a 10.95 ERA.
Cobb has a 0-3 record with a 4.63 ERA versus his former team. He was with Tampa Bay from 2011-17 before coming to Baltimore.
Both teams are coming off of tough losses. Atlanta handed the Rays a 2-1 defeat Thursday to wrap up a sweep of a two-game series in Georgia. Tampa Bay had beaten the visiting Braves in the first two games of the two-city series.
The Rays have had good pitching the past few seasons and in the early games of 2020. Plus, they’ve gotten strong offense from several players, ranking as one of the top teams at the plate in the American League so far. But the Rays had issues with both facets as Atlanta won the last two games 7-4 and then 2-1.
Baltimore is trying to bounce back from a stunning 8-6 home loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday. The Yankees now have topped the Orioles 18 consecutive times dating back to early 2019.
The Orioles rallied from a 5-0, first-inning deficit Thursday to take a 6-5 lead when Pedro Severino hit a two-run homer in the eighth. However, Aaron Judge belted a three-run homer in the ninth to give New York the win.
John Means, an All-Star last year, made his first start after missing the final days of summer camp due to arm fatigue. He was supposed to start Opening Night in Boston but landed on the 10-day injured list.
Means didn’t have great command in the first inning Thursday, giving up a grand slam to Luke Voit and five runs in that frame. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings overall.
“Physically, I felt great,” Means said. “I thought my stuff was good. I thought (it was that) one mistake.”
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde added about Means, “He felt great. He probably felt a little bit too good.”
Jose Iglesias (quad) was out of the Baltimore lineup after being pulled early on Wednesday.
Baltimore slugger Chris Davis has been one of the bigger mysteries so far this season. He was not in the batting order in either of the past two games, and the Orioles have said little about it publicly. Hyde said before the game he didn’t want to address the issue anymore.
–Field Level Media