All five teams in the American League East entered the week with a winning record with the two teams atop the loaded division, the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles, meeting in Baltimore on Tuesday.
Tampa Bay Rays (-120, 8.5) vs. Baltimore Orioles
For the Rays, they have yet to show any true weaknesses this season, leading the league in runs per game on the road with 7.15 entering the series and posting a league-best 3.01 ERA with no other team entering Monday with better than a 3.32 ERA.
Tuesday’s starting pitcher for the Rays is Zach Eflin, who has rounded into better form than ever this season with a 2.25 ERA, allowing three runs or fewer in all five of his starts with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 10.3.
The Orioles counter with former first-round pick Grayson Rodriguez, whose raw stuff is lethal as he is registering 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings this season. However, he has yet to become a complete pitcher.
Opponents are hitting .277 off of Rodriguez and drawing 3.6 walks per nine innings, which has resulted in a 5.46 ERA, surrendering at least four runs in three of his six starts this season.
Much of the reason the Orioles are 5-1 in Rodriguez’s starts this season is they back him up with a bullpen that is fourth in the league in ERA, entering Monday night with a 3.20 ERA.
Unfortunately, the Orioles are facing one of those three teams with a better bullpen ERA as the Rays entered Monday night with a 3.10 bullpen ERA while using their bullpen for 10 2/3 innings more than any other team in the league.
The Rays' 28-7 start to the season is the second-best 35-game start to a season in the past 85 years and with the team 5-0 in Eflin’s starts, they will improve upon an already historic start to the season on Tuesday.
The Play: Rays -120