Orioles to face Rays in massive AL East weekend series

Shane McClanahan

First place is on the line this weekend in the American League East. That is because the two top teams in the division will be facing each other at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Orioles lead the American League East with a record of 58 wins and 37 losses, while the Rays are second in the division with a record of 60 wins and 39 losses. The Orioles and Rays are actually tied when it comes to games back. However, the Orioles have a winning percentage of .611, while the Rays are at .606. It should be noted that the Orioles have four games in hand on the Rays as they have played 95 games, while the Rays have played 99.

Two teams in opposite directions

The Rays got off to a fantastic start as they had a record of 23 wins and six losses by the end of April. In May and June, the Rays were still very productive at 34 wins and 22 losses. However, in the month of July, Tampa Bay has gone ice cold as they have won only three of 14 games, and were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers.

The Orioles were 10 games above .500 by the end of April at 19 wins and nine losses. In May and June, they were at 29 wins and 23 losses. Now in the month of July, Baltimore is smoking hot as they have won 10 of 15 games, including nine of their last 11. Along the way, they have swept the Minnesota Twins and Miami Marlins.

Not the Yankees and Red Sox

When you think of the American League East leaders, you normally think of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Since 1998, the Yankees have won the American League East 14 times, while the Red Sox have won five times. However this season the Red Sox and Yankees are the two worst teams in the American League.

Key Players

Offensively, Rays shortstop Wander Franco of Bani, Dominican Republic is second in the American League with 28 stolen bases. He is only behind Esteury Ruiz of the Oakland Athletics, who has 43 stolen bases. When it comes to pitching, Rays ace Shane McClanahan, who ironically is from Baltimore, Maryland, leads the Majors with 11 wins and the American League with an earned run average of 2.56. Meanwhile, Orioles closer Felix Bautista of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic leads the American League with 26 saves.


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