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Baltimore Orioles Series Preview: May 14 to 16

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The Yankees and Orioles meet up for a three game series in Baltimore this weekend. Beautiful Camden Yards, or should I say Yankee Stadium south, will be the venue for this set. The Yanks just wrapped up a pretty difficult stretch in the schedule, so facing the last place Orioles should be a reprieve. The Bombers went 6-3 against the Astros, Nationals, and Rays over the last week or so. Still some kinks to work out, but things are going well heading into this weekend.

These two teams have already faced each other seven times, with the Yankees holding the season series advantage, 4-3. The Bombers took two-of-three from the O’s at Yankee Stadium in early April, but later split a four game set at Camden Yards just before the calendar flipped to May. Let’s hope for better this time around. Let’s break down the latest and greatest for the Orioles.

Their Story So Far

Baltimore is in a bit of a skid right now. After winning back-to-back series on the west coast against Oakland and Seattle (right after the four game set with the Yankees), the Orioles dropped three of four against the Red Sox and were swept in a brief two-game set against the Mets. The Birds are 16-21, the only sub-.500 team in the AL East, and thus in the division cellar.

On the bright side, there have been a couple of nice stories for Baltimore this season. Trey Mancini’s return from cancer, namely. He’s swatted 7 homers and owns a .252/.308/.448 (113 wRC+) batting line, which is more or less in line with his career output entering this year (116 wRC+). Great to see him healthy and performing once again.

Additionally, staff ace John Means tossed a no hitter in Seattle last week. I know there have been a bunch of no hitters already this season, but Means was actually pretty darn close to a perfect game. No walks, no hits (obviously), no hit batters, and no errors. The only batter to reach base, Sam Haggerty, got aboard on a strikeout plus wild pitch.

That’s probably going to be the peak of Baltimore’s season. A nice moment to have during a rebuild for sure, but it’s still going to be a long year for the Orioles. At least the team’s fans can watch Means every fifth day. He’s been incredible this season. It’s not just the no-no. He has a microscopic 1.21 ERA thus far and pitches this Sunday vs. the Yankees.

Thanks to Means and a surprisingly strong bullpen, Baltimore’s pitching ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of team ERA. The team’s relievers have a 3.39 ERA, which is 7th-best in MLB. The non-Means section of the rotation has been shaky, but the ‘pen has helped keep them in ballgames. The larger problem is on the offensive side, where there’s been little production. Baltimore’s scored 138 runs, or 3.7 per game. Incredibly, that’s just five runs fewer than the Yankees, though. But the Bombers have a 100 wRC+ as a team, whereas the Orioles own an 88 mark. In all, this is a pretty bad Orioles club, especially on days that Means doesn’t start.

Injury Report

PlayerPositionInjuryRoster StatusEstimated Return
Chris Davis1BLower back strain60-day ILMid-June
Anthony SantanderOFSprained ankle10-day ILNext week
Hunter HarveyRHPStrained oblique60-day ILLate May
Mac ScerolerRHPShoulder tendinitis10-day ILLate May
Dillon TateRHPStrained hamstring10-day ILLate May

Spotlight: Freddy Galvis

Since I’ve already touched on Means and Mancini, along with Cedric Mullins and Ryan Mountcastle in earlier series previews, let’s discuss someone else: shortstop Freddy Galvis. He’s been terrific for Baltimore so far, and aside from Mullins, is really the only Oriole hitting comfortably above league average per wRC+ (131).

Baltimore signed Galvis to a one-year, $1.5 million contract in the offseason and gave him the starting shortstop role. The 31 year-old veteran has some pop, including a couple of 20+ home run seasons in his career, but is better known for his defense. The switch-hitter can play second base too. He’s someone we’ve talked about as a target for the Yankees in the past, and would have been a nice middle infield upgrade this winter, especially considering the contract he got from Baltimore. I suppose Galvis was looking for regular playing time though, which he has with the Orioles.

Galvis will cool off at the plate. He’s never posted a wRC+ above 90 (last year) and his current OPS (.820) is easily a career best. But for as nice of a surprise as his offense has been, Galvis’ defense has been a surprise too. And not in a good way. By Statcast’s Outs Above Average, the shortstop is in the 32nd percentile of MLB. That’s better than his 13th percentile grade last year, but still dramatically lower than 2019 and prior. From 2017 through 2019, Galvis posted OAA percentiles no lower than the 92nd percentile. That’s elite.

It’ll be interesting to see if the metrics turn back in his favor defensively. He is on the wrong side of 30 now, though, so perhaps this is age-related decline. Still, Galvis appears pretty surehanded (just one error this season). And with four dingers in 116 plate appearances, he’s at least making up for things offensively. Again, Galvis would have been a nice get for the Yankees in the winter to improve the team’s weak middle infield depth behind Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu. Alas, it’ll be Gio Urshela playing out of position and Tyler Wade while Torres sits out due to COVID-19.

Projected Lineup

Here’s Roster Resource‘s projected lineup and stats to date:

  1. Cedric Mullins, CF (.308/.370/.521, 150 wRC+)
  2. Austin Hays, LF (.247/.307/.452, 114 wRC+)
  3. Trey Mancini, 1B (.252/.308/.448, 113 wRC+)
  4. DJ Stewart, RF (.184/.319/.289, 84 wRC+)
  5. Ryan Mountcastle, DH (.218/.243/.338, 62 wRC+)
  6. Freddy Galvis, SS (.279/.339/.481, 131 wRC+)
  7. Maikel Franco, 3B (.201/.267/.321, 69 wRC+)
  8. Pedro Severino, C (.247/.307/.312, 77 wRC+)
  9. Rio Ruiz, 2B (.161/.247/.299, 58 wRC+)

Bench:

  • Chance Cisco, C (.156/.208/.178, 13 wRC+)
  • Ramón Urías, INF (.212/.293/.308, 76 wRC+)
  • Pat Valaika, UTIL (.190/.239/.286, 48 wRC+)
  • Ryan McKenna, OF (.211/.286/.316, 73 wRC+)

Pitching Matchups

Tonight, 7:05 pm eastern

RHP Corey Kluber

The Klubot began his recent span of good pitching with his start against Baltimore a few weeks ago. He tossed 6.2 innings and gave up just one run at Camden Yards. Including that outing, the righty has a 1.33 ERA and 2.07 FIP in his last 20.1 innings. (Stats vs. Orioles)

RHP Dean Kremer

This will be the third time Kremer faces the Yankees this season. The first two didn’t go well. In total, the righty has surrendered 9 runs in 7.1 innings vs. the Bombers in 2021. He’s pitched better in his last two starts, tallying 11 innings and a 3.27 ERA. (Stats vs. Yankees)

Tomorrow, 7:05 pm eastern

RHP Domingo Germán

Germán has a 2.59 ERA in his last four starts, including seven shutout innings in Baltimore at the end of April. Current Baltimore hitters have a .130/.191/.139 batting line against him. (Stats vs. Orioles)

RHP Jorge López

The Yankees have scored six runs in 8.2 innings against López this season (two starts). López enters tomorrow’s start with a 5.63 ERA in 32 innings this year. (Stats vs. Yankees)

Sunday, 1:05 pm eastern

LHP Jordan Montgomery

Monty shut out the Orioles across six innings on April 5th, then followed with five frames of two-run ball again them on the 29th. The tall lefty owns a 3.96 ERA and 4.06 FIP coming into Sunday’s matinee. He hasn’t given up more than three runs in a start since April 17th. (Stats vs. Orioles)

LHP John Means

The southpaw has an incredible 1.21 ERA, lowest of qualified starters in the AL (yes, lower than Gerrit Cole). He hasn’t given up a run in his last two starts, including the aforementioned no-no. He faced the Yanks in his second start of the season and allowed one run in 4.2 innings. (Stats vs. Yankees)

Bullpen Status

PitcherThursdayWednesdayTuesday
César Valdez23
Tanner Scott (L)9
Paul Fry (L)
Adam Plutko16
Cole Sulser
Travis Lakins Sr.
Shawn Armstrong14
Keegan Akin12
Tyler Wells21
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5 Comments

  1. Terry from LA

    I think they’ll win the series but it’s not a slam dunk. I think it’s time to think about Taillon going to the bullpen for a bit and give King a shot. AND I’m SICK of playing the O’s. Seems like we play them 6 out of 10 games all year.

  2. chip56

    I’m calling it: Baltimore wins the series 2-1.

    Yankees are not only a bad team, they’re a boring team.

  3. I’m glad the Yanks won’t have to face Dillon Tate out of the bullpen. He’s owned his former team.

  4. DanGer

    Oh NOW it makes sense… Gleyber doesn’t actually have COVID. Gary Thorne just slipped a “positive” result to MLB lol

  5. MBN

    Hopefully, the Yankees will run the bases a little smarter this time around.

    And also O’Day was probably injured his 2 appearances against the O’s last time in Camden.

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