Heading into play last August 12, the Baltimore Orioles were in the midst of a 19-game losing streak in which they were outscored by a little more than five runs per game. At 38-75, they were 31 games behind the pacesetting Rays in the American League East and were on their way to losing 110 games.

Brett Phillips Returns To Trop With Orioles Chasing Rays In Wild Card Battle

Heading into play last August 12, the Baltimore Orioles were in the midst of a 19-game losing streak in which they were outscored by a little more than five runs per game. At 38-75, they were 31 games behind the pacesetting Rays in the American League East and were on their way to losing 110 games.
Brett Phillips, Credit Baltimore Orioles

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – What a difference a year makes.

Heading into play last August 12, the Baltimore Orioles were in the midst of a 19-game losing streak in which they were outscored by a little more than five runs per game. At 38-75, they were 31 games behind the pacesetting Rays in the American League East and were on their way to losing 110 games.

This year? Well, the Orioles begin a three-game series at Tropicana Field on Friday night with a mark of 58-53 and one-half game behind the Rays for the third wild card spot in the A.L.

While moving the left field wall at Camden Yards back 26 feet and raising it from seven feet to 13 has definitely helped the pitching staff by turning a bandbox into something a little more challenging for hitters, the Orioles are playing pretty well on the road.

Their 25-31 mark away from Baltimore is identical to that of the Rays’ road record and the 25 wins equal that of last season’s total when Brandon Hyde’s squad went 25-56.

Led by a core of players that includes Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, Austin Hays and rookie catcher Adley Rutschman, Baltimore is not only playing a much better brand of baseball, but has given the Rays some fits.

The Rays owned the Orioles last season in winning 18 of 19 games with eight of the victories by at least five runs. Not so this time around as the teams have split 16 meetings.

While fans at the Trop welcome back Brett Phillips, who was dealt to Baltimore at the trade deadline for cash considerations and is 2-for-11 with his new team, the Rays will get the series underway Friday night (7:10) by sending Corey Kluber to the mound.

He will be opposed by Austin Voth. Saturday afternoon (4:10) will see Shane McClanahan take the hill against Spenser Watkins and Sunday (1:40) it will be Drew Rasmussen and Jordan Lyles.

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