The Orioles have a tall task ahead of them this weekend with the AL East-leading Rays in town for a three-game set. So it’s a good thing the O’s have their ace on the mound for the series opener.

While John Means wasn’t exactly himself in his first two starts after being activated from the injured list, he excelled in his most recent outing. Against Detroit on July 31, he pitched six innings of one-run ball and recorded six strikeouts. But Means hasn’t fared well against the Rays this year, having allowed nine earned runs in two starts (11.1 innings). The left-hander will look to shake up that narrative tonight against a Rays team that is batting just .226 with a .680 OPS against southpaws in 2021.

Tampa Bay will counter with a left-handed starter of their own, Ryan Yarbrough, who has underperformed against Baltimore this year. That includes three starts and 17.2 total innings pitched, in which Yarbrough has allowed 14 runs (11 earned). His most recent start came against the Red Sox, when he allowed five earned runs over five innings.

Trey Mancini, batting third tonight as the designated hitter, is hitting .364 with three home runs in 22 career at-bats against Yarbrough. Cleanup hitter Ryan Mountcastle is hitting .250 in 12 ABs against the lefty, Anthony Santander has a career .231 average in 13 ABs, and Pedro Severino is hitting .200 in 20 ABs.

Orioles lineup

Cedric Mullins CF
Austin Hays LF
Trey Mancini DH
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Ramon Urias 2B
Anthony Santander RF
Pedro Severino C
Maikel Franco 3B
Richie Martin SS

LHP John Means

Rays lineup

Jordan Luplow LF
Nelson Cruz DH
Wander Franco SS
Yandy Diaz 3B
Brandon Lowe 2B
Manuel Margot RF
Ji-Man Choi 1B
Mike Zunino C
Kevin Kiermaier CF

LHP Ryan Yarbrough

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