The Baltimore Orioles have not gotten outstanding work from their starting pitching this season. That's been one of the reasons they've started so poorly.
But Dylan Bundy may have given Baltimore its best start of the season Saturday night, throwing 7 1/3 shutout innings. Now, John Means, probably the team's most effective pitcher overall this season, will get the start Sunday when the Orioles close out their three-game weekend series with the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.
The biggest problem for both teams could be the weather, as there's nearly a 100 percent chance of rain forecast for the 1:05 p.m. start. That's why the Rays wouldn't officially name a starter after Saturday's 3-0 loss.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said it could be reliever Ryne Stanek as an opener, a role he often fills. But Tampa Bay is going to wait until it sees what the situation is on Sunday before making a final decision, as the Rays have a few different options to choose from.
Means (3-3, 2.81 ERA) will be making his first career start against the Rays. He faced Tampa Bay as a reliever on April 18, pitching two scoreless innings in an 11-inning victory.
The left-hander has been strong this season thanks to a newly-developed changeup that's bothering hitters left and right. He'll try to follow the aforementioned effort from Bundy, who gave up three hits Saturday, becoming the first Oriole starter to make it into the eighth this season.
Bundy kept the Rays without a hit from the second into the eighth in his best effort since last season.
"I just felt like I was throwing all pitches to both sides of the plate on both left- and right-handed hitters," Bundy said. "It's all about rhythm and tempo, especially when you're going good."
Dwight Smith, Jr. homered in the win and leads the team with 22 RBIs. He's been a big surprise early in the season as Baltimore searches for offense.
The Rays have been able to hit this season, as the shutout on Saturday was just the second time they've been blanked. They finished with just three hits and had only a few threats.
Their best came in the eighth when Michael Perez doubled off of Bundy and then appeared to score when pitcher Shawn Armstrong made a throwing error after fielding a swinging bunt from Willy Adames.
The umpires then called interference on Adames for running out of the baseline en route to first, and he was called out with Perez sent back to second. Tampa Bay then was unable to score, and the Orioles finished it in the ninth.
Brandon Lowe got one of the team's three hits by singling off Bundy on the first pitch of the game. That stretched Lowe's hitting streak to nine games. He's batting .361 during the hitting streak.
Yonny Chirinos stepped in as a late replacement of sorts for Stanek in Saturday's game. The Rays decided to go with Chirinos -- he was supposed to pitch after Stanek -- due to forecasts of rain, and he went a career-best 7 1/3 innings.
Chirinos allowed three runs on seven hits and saw his streak of eight consecutive wins, dating back to last year, stopped. The team record for consecutive wins is nine.
The loss was frustrating for Tampa Bay because it couldn't do much on offense. Given the lost run to an unusual call, the Rays are looking to move on quickly.
"The only thing that we can do is just bounce back tomorrow, come with that energy and get that win," Adames said.
--Field Level Media