Tag: Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles Series Preview: 9/10 to 9/14

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It’s only been a few days since we last saw the Orioles. Baltimore took three of four from the Yankees at Camden Yards last weekend. This time, the two sides play four at Yankee Stadium.

Their Story so far

When I wrote the Yankees-Orioles series preview last week, Baltimore was 16-20 and four games behind New York. Now, they’re 20-22 and 1.5 games behind the Yanks. Things have gotten interesting, to say the least. Probably shouldn’t be, but hey, credit to the O’s for finally giving the Yankees a taste of their own medicine last weekend.

The Yankees took the first of four at Camden Yards last weekend, but the Orioles recovered quickly. The Yanks scored just five games in the last three games of the series and lost them all. That sent the Yanks packing to Buffalo, while the O’s enjoyed a day off before facing the Mets at Citi Field over the past two days.

By the end of Tuesday, the Orioles came within a half game of the Yankees. First, they won an 11-2 laugher against the Mets. The Yankees were in the midst of dropping its second straight game to the Blue Jays. But Baltimore took a step back last night while the Yankees recovered. It felt…normal! The Orioles blew a 5-1 lead and lost 7-6. That brings us to this series against the Yanks, the final time these two teams will meet in 2020.

Injury Report

  • 1B/OF Trey Mancini: Surgery on malignant tumor
  • SS Richie Martin: Wrist surgery
  • OF Austin Hays: Non-displaced rib fracture
  • OF Anthony Santander: Strained oblique
  • LHP Wade LeBlanc: Elbow stress reaction
  • RHP Shawn Armstrong: Back soreness
  • RHP Alex Cobb: Undisclosed

Spotlight: D.J. “Babe” Stewart

There’s a Yankees connection here. Back in 2012, the Yankees chose Stewart with its 28th round pick. He didn’t sign and instead enrolled at Florida State. Not hard to see why the Yankees were interested: Stewart’s a burly left-handed slugger built for Yankee Stadium. Three years later, Baltimore drafted Stewart in the first round (25th overall). The Orioles actually picked him eleven spots before Ryan Mountcastle.

Stewart was never the prospect Mountcastle has become in spite of draft position. Both are bat-first players, but Stewart looks the part of a DH far more than Mountcastle. Stewart’s listed a 6-feet and 230 pounds.

Perhaps it’s the body type that’s resulted in “Babe” nickname. It might also be the fact that five of his eight hits this season have left the ballpark. This is the type of power output that the Orioles have been hoping to get from Stewart since he first debuted in 2018.

Rewinding to 2018: Stewart did well in his first taste of the majors as a September call up. In 47 plate appearances, he hit .250/.340/.550 (136 wRC+) with 3 homers. But things cratered in 2019 and early 2020. He was up and down from Triple-A last year but didn’t much when with the Orioles. Stewart batted .238/.317/.381 (82 wRC+) in 142 trips to the plate in the majors.

Stewart got off to a dreadful start this season. Through August 5th, he went 0-for-14 with six walks and eight strikeouts. He was banished to the Alternate Site thereafter. But come the trade deadline, the Orioles made a flurry of transactions and brought Stewart back up on September 1st. He’s made the most of his chances since coming back: Stewart’s reached base in 14 of 23 plate appearances including five dingers. The Yankees will need to cool off the 26 year-old power hitter over the next four games.

Projected Lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins, CF (.296/.352/.420, 111 wRC+)
  2. José Iglesias, SS (.376/.396/.505, 145 wRC+)
  3. Renato Núñez, DH (.252/.312/.497, 113 wRC+)
  4. Pedro Severino, C (.322/.400/.513, 149 wRC+)
  5. DJ Stewart, RF (.267/.488/.767, 225 wRC+)
  6. Ryan Mountcastle, LF (.383/.411/.633, 188 wRC+)
  7. Hanser Alberto, 2B (.311/.333/.422, 103 wRC+)
  8. Rio Ruiz, 3B (.228/.303/.457, 99 wRC+)
  9. Pat Valaika, 1B (.269/.309/.471, 107 wRC+)

Bench:

  • Bryan Holaday, C (.217/.250/.261, 36 wRC+)
  • Chance Cisco, C (.236/.389/.458, 135 wRC+)
  • Chris Davis, 1B (.122/.173/.184, -9 wRC+)
  • Andrew Velazquez, SS (.179/.258/.232, 35 wRC+)
  • Mason Williams, OF (.111/.111/.222, -27 wRC+)

Pitching Matchups

Tonight, 7:05 p.m. EDT: Keegan Akin (vs. Yankees) vs. Gerrit Cole (vs. Orioles)

Akin shut down the Yankees on Saturday. In 5 1/3 innings, the 26 year-old lefty surrendered 7 baserunners but didn’t allow a run. He also struck out eight batters.

Akin.

Cole faced Akin last Saturday and took the loss. He cruised through five innings, but as you may recall, he unraveled in the sixth. We’re still waiting to see Cole absolutely shut down an opposing lineup. Hopefully this start is it.

Tomorrow, 7:05 p.m. EDT: TBD (likely Dean Kremer) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (vs. Orioles)

Baltimore hasn’t announced a starter yet, but Kremer is lined up for this one. He threw a gem against the Yankees in his major league debut: 6 innings, 1 hit, 1 run, 3 walks, and 7 strikeouts. Hopefully some familiarity helps the Bombers this time around.

Like Cole, Tanaka pitched pretty well until the sixth inning against Baltimore last weekend. An error opened the floodgates that frame and Tanaka couldn’t stop the bleeding, though. Nonetheless, Tanaka’s been the Yankees’ most consistent starter this season and carries a 3.38 ERA into this one.

Saturday, 1:05 p.m. EDT: TBD vs. Jordan Montgomery (vs. Orioles)

No starter announced for the Orioles for this one yet.

The Yankees badly need Montgomery to turn things around. He’s pitched terribly in each of his last two starts. There was a lot of promise around Monty back in spring training and summer camp (even early this season), but he’s trending downward of late.

Sunday, 1:05 p.m. EDT: John Means (vs. Yankees) vs. JA Happ (vs. Orioles)

The Yankees knocked Means around way back in July (5 runs in 2 1/3 innings), but Baltimore’s ace has pitched better of late. In his last game, Means allowed just a run over 6 innings against the Mets. Means season-long numbers aren’t very good (6.58 ERA), but his stuff seems to have improved (+3 MPH on his fastball).

Means.

Is JA Happ…good? In his last four starts, the veteran lefty has a 2.59 ERA and 3.59 FIP in 24 1/3 innings pitched. That’s an extreme small sample alert, but there’s no question that the Yankees will take it. More of that, please.

Bullpen Status

RHP: Hunter Harvey, Travis Lakins Sr., Cole Sulser, Dillon Tate, Cesar Valdez, Carson Fulmer, Tom Eshelman, Asher Wojciechowski

LHP: Tanner Scott, Paul Fry

Baltimore’s bullpen was busy yesterday. Harvey (11 pitches), Scott (17), Fry (18), and Tate (7) all pitched. I wouldn’t necessarily rule any of them out for tonight. Everyone else is rested.


It’s time to go on a run and put Baltimore in the team’s rear view mirror for good. Since this is the last time the Yankees will see them this year, it’s pivotal to put the Orioles to bed. Otherwise, they’ll have to continue scoreboard watching until the very end of the month.

Baltimore Orioles Series Preview: 9/4 to 9/6

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It feels like a year ago since the Yankees took two games at Camden Yards at the end of July. That’s 2020 for ya, I guess. Baltimore is 16-20, yet just 4.0 games behind both the Yankees and Blue Jays. Not that the Orioles are a real threat, but the Yankees can separate themselves from them this weekend.

Their Story so far

The Orioles got off to a surprisingly good start. You may remember that they lost 108 games last year, after all. This season, Baltimore was 12-8 through a third of the season and had a 27.8 percent chance to make the playoffs, per Fangraphs. It’s not like they were beating up on bad teams either. Baltimore swept three games at home against the Rays as the calendar flipped to August, for instance.

Things have fallen apart since mid-August, though. They endured two long losing streaks in the final weeks of the month, one of six games and another lasting five. The play has dropped the Birds’ playoff odds to just 3 percent.

During the good times, Baltimore had the league’s third-best offense per wRC+ and scored roughly 5.4 runs per game. Ever since, that’s down to 4.4. The pitching has been a little worse (4.89 ERA since 8/16 vs. 4.55 ERA before), but clearly it’s the lack of hitting that’s hurting.

The stumble to the finish of August made Baltimore sellers. They traded away relievers Mychal Givens and Miguel Castro. Starter Tommy Milone was also sent packing. Additionally, ten days before the deadline, the Orioles called up prospect Ryan Mountcastle who’s expected to be one of the main pieces of this franchise’s return to contention. More on him in a bit.

Injury Report

  • 1B/OF Trey Mancini: Surgery on malignant tumor
  • 1B Chris Davis: Patellar tendinitis
  • SS Richie Martin: Wrist surgery
  • OF Austin Hays: Non-displaced rib fracture
  • LHP Wade LeBlanc: Elbow stress reaction
  • RHP Shawn Armstrong: Back soreness

Spotlight: Ryan Mountcastle

The Orioles brought up consensus top-100 prospect Ryan Mountcastle roughly two weeks ago. He’s a bat-first player who’s going to be relegated to a corner position or DH, but the offense is real. The 36th overall pick in the 2015 draft is off to a good start in the big leagues too. In 45 plate appearances, Mountcastle has a .341/.400/.537 (155 wRC+) with two home runs and two doubles.

Mountcastle, 23, should be up for good in Baltimore. He doesn’t have anything left to prove in the minor leagues. Last year, Mountcastle hit .312/.344/.527 (117 wRC+) with 25 homers in 553 plate appearances at Triple-A. There’s no reason for him to go back there unless he struggles mightily in 2021.

If there’s any knock on Mountcastle, it’s his plate discipline. His strikeout rates aren’t necessarily bad, but he’s extremely aggressive. He posted a 4.3 percent walk rate and 23.5 percent strikeout rate last season in Triple-A. He’s at 8.9 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively, early in his big league career.

Mountcastle has swung at 42.3 percent of pitches out of the zone, which would put him in the top-10 of MLB qualified hitters. His 60.9 percent overall swing rate would be fourth-highest too. Look how swing-happy he is:

That said, it does look like the best place to pitch him his upstairs.

Definitely want to steer clear of anything down and/or in. We’ll see how the Yankees pitch him. In any case, it sure seems like Mountcastle will be a good hitter in Baltimore’s lineup for years to come. We should be seeing a lot of him.

Projected Lineup

  1. Hanser Alberto, 2B (.321/.342/.450, 114 wRC+)
  2. Anthony Santander, RF (.268/.319/.591, 135 wRC+)
  3. José Iglesias, SS (.405/.414/.548, 162 wRC+)
  4. Renato Núñez, 1B (.270/.331/.526, 128 wRC+)
  5. Pedro Severino, DH (.310/.384/.520, 146 wRC+)
  6. Chance Cisco, C (.238/.385/.492, 140 wRC+)
  7. Ryan Mountcastle, LF (.341/.400/.537, 155 wRC+)
  8. Rio Ruiz, 3B (.198/.283/.396, 79 wRC+)
  9. Cedric Mullins,CF (.266/.338/.328, 87 wRC+)

Bench:

  • Bryan Holaday, C (72 wRC+)
  • Dilson Herrera, UTIL (-100 wRC+ in 2 PA)
  • Pat Valaika, UTIL (123 wRC+)
  • Andrew Velazquez, UTIL (30 wRC+)
  • DJ Stewart, OF (24 wRC+)

Pitching Matchups

Tonight, 5:05 p.m. EDT: RHP Michael King (first game against Orioles) vs. RHP Alex Cobb (vs. Yankees) TBD

Cobb was supposed to start today, but was placed on the injured list. No reason why yet. Cobb stayed put at the trade deadline, though the Orioles shopped him. The veteran righty has been OK this season: 4.33 ERA and 4.72 FIP in 35 1/3 innings. He doesn’t miss many bats (15.4 percent strikeout rate), and given some of the Statcast data, it seems like a correction could be coming. Sure would be nice to see that today.

Cobb.

This is King’s third start and sixth game of the year. It’s also his second start in a row; he gave up six hits and two runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Mets five days ago.

Later tonight, 30-45 minutes after game 1: Deivi García (second career start) vs. Jorge López (vs. Yankees)

I have almost no recollection of this, but López faced the Yankees twice last year. On April 21st, he allowed five runs in seven innings (Clint Frazier hit a three-run homer). Later in the season, the Yankees knocked out López with no outs in the second inning of a start (he allowed five runs). Those outings were with Kansas City, who DFA’d the 27 year-old righty earlier this season. Then Baltimore claimed him.

López

Happy Deivi day! Watching the Yankees has been far from a joy of late, but it’ll be fun to watch the 21 year-old phenom get the ball in one of today’s two outings. He was absolutely terrific against the Mets in his last start. More please.

Tomorrow, 7:35 p.m. EDT: RHP Gerrit Cole (vs. Orioles) vs. LHP Keegan Akin (second career start)

This will be just Akin’s fourth career game and second start. The 25 year-old lefty was Baltimore’s second round pick back in 2016 and has some promise as a back-end starter.

Cole’s second start of the season came against the Orioles. He lasted 6 2/3 innings and allowed 3 runs. Cole’s allowed seven homers over his last three starts, so let’s see if he does a better job keeping the ball in the yard tomorrow.

Sunday, 1:05 p.m. EDT: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. Orioles) vs. Asher Wojciechowski (vs. Yankees)

The Yankees hit Wojciechowski pretty good earlier this season. He gave up five runs in five innings, including three home runs. DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Hicks all took him deep. The righty hasn’t thrown more than five innings in any start this season.

Wojchiechowski.

Tanaka’s allowed two or fewer runs in five of his six starts this season. Last time out, the impending free agent dealt six innings of two run ball against Tampa Bay.

Bullpen Status

RHP: Hunter Harvey, Travis Lakins Sr., Cole Sulser, Dillon Tate, Evan Phillips, Tom Eshelman, Cesar Valdez

LHP: Tanner Scott, Paul Fry

Baltimore was off yesterday, so the team’s bullpen is fresh for this weekend’s action. The only pitcher to throw multiple days in a row recently is Scott, who pitched three straight days from August 30th to September 1st. That said, he threw no more than ten pitches in any of those appearances. This is a bullpen the Yankees should hammer, especially with Castro and Givens no longer with the team.


I don’t know how else to put it, but the Yankees should win all four of these games. Even depleted, the Yankees are far superior to Baltimore. The Bombers need to right the ship and there’s really no better team to face than the Orioles when in need.

Baltimore Orioles Series Preview: 7/29 to 7/30

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After back-to-back postponements in Philadelphia, the Yankees will resume play tonight against the Orioles in Baltimore. The Yankees weren’t scheduled to play the Orioles until next week, but the fallout from the Marlins’ outbreak, the Nationals’ vote to not travel to Miami, and the Phillies’ ongoing testing resulted in various scheduling changes. So, here we are. MLB an absolute mess in terms of testing, quarantining, and protecting its players/staff, but that’s not going to stop them from plowing forward yet.

This will be a quick two game series in Baltimore before the Yankees head home. Today was supposed to be the Bombers’ home opener, but instead that’ll come Friday against the Red Sox. The Orioles are bad and the Yankees have had a ton of success at Camden Yards, but I can’t imagine the team is too thrilled to have been in limbo for the past few days. Perhaps they can take out some of that frustration against the lowly Orioles.

Their story so far

Maybe it’s not fair that I called the Orioles “bad” or “lowly” to close out the introduction. They’re 2-1 after all. Heh. The O’s took two out of three from the Red Sox over the weekend, and folks, you love to see it.

The Birds dropped the opener to the Red Sox in ugly fashion, 13-2. But things were pretty smooth sailing in the next two games. The Orioles lineup tallied seven runs in each of the next two at Fenway. That speaks volumes about how awful Boston’s pitching is. Just wait until you see some of the projections for Orioles’ hitters in a bit.

Unfortunately for the O’s, that series against Boston will probably be the pinnacle of the season. PECOTA projected a 22-38 record and Fangraphs had them at 24-36. Both projections are worst in the league.

Injury Report

  • 1B/OF Trey Mancini is currently under treatment for stage three colon cancer and isn’t expected to play this season. He wrote about this back in April for The Players’ Tribune and noted that he probably won’t play this year. From the sounds of it, he’s fortunate to have had the malignant tumor found early. Best wishes to a full and speedy recovery.
  • SS Richie Martin broke his wrist in Summer Camp and probably won’t be back this season. He had surgery earlier this month.
  • LHP John Means was in the midst of a dead arm period in recent weeks, but is expected to return this series and start against the Yankees on Thursday.
  • RHP Hunter Harvey is on the injured list with elbow soreness. His return is unclear, though the hard-throwing righty has a long injury history in the minors.
  • RHP Dillon Tate, who was part of the package that to acquire Zack Britton in 2018, is also hurt. He’s dealing with forearm soreness after he was drilled by a comebacker in Summer Camp.

Spotlight: Gleyber Torres

Normally, we reserve this section to highlight a player on the opposing team. But since it’s the Orioles, I think it has to be Gleyber. Will we get a redux of 2019 when Gleyber tormented Baltimore?

Those were two of 13 (!!!) home runs Torres hit against the Orioles last season. Overall, Gleyber hit .394/.467/1.045 in 75 plate appearances against O’s pitching. And no, that 1.045 mark wasn’t his OPS. It is indeed his slugging percentage. Just absurd.

Anyway, is there any reason to not expect Torres to feast against Baltimore again this year? I can’t think of any.

Projected Lineup

Here’s the Roster Resource projected lineup along with projected wRC+ and DRC+ per ZiPS and PECOTA, respectively:

  1. Austin Hays, CF (85 wRC+, 98 DRC+)
  2. Anthony Santander, RF (88 wRC+, 88 DRC+)
  3. José Iglesias, SS (85 wRC+, 84 DRC+)
  4. Rio Ruiz, 3B (82 wRC+, 82 DRC+)
  5. Hanser Alberto, 2B (86 wRC+, 86 DRC+)
  6. Chris Davis, 1B (60 wRC+, 82 DRC+)
  7. Renato Núñez, DH (95 wRC+, 97 DRC+)
  8. Pedro Severino, C (70 wRC+, 79 DRC+)
  9. DJ Stewart, LF (87 wRC+, 91 DRC+)

C Chance Cisco, IF Pat Valaika, IF/OF Andrew Velazquez, OF Cedric Mullins, and OF Dwight Smith round out the bench. This is a bad offense, folks.

Pitching Matchups

Tonight (7:35 p.m. EDT): Asher Wojciechowski (vs. Yankees) vs. Gerrit Cole (vs. Orioles)

On the podcast released this morning, I mentioned that Tommy Milone was slated to start this game. That would have been a fantastic matchup for the Yankees’ lineup. Instead, 6-foot-4 righty Wojciechowski gets the nod for his first start of the year. Now, he’s an upgrade from Milone, albeit not much. No reason the Yankees can’t knock him around tonight. Last year, Wojciechwoski allowed 17 homers in just 82 1/3 innings, or 1.86 per 9. That’s not a recipe for success against this lineup.

Wojciechowski.

One has to imagine that the Orioles are not salivating to face Gerrit Cole. This is arguably the best pitcher in baseball vs. perhaps the worst lineup in the league. For reference: Baltimore is last in projected runs scored per PECOTA by a 15 run margin. Anything less than a perfect game will be a disappointment. I kid…or do I?

Tomorrow (7:05 p.m. EDT): John Means (vs. Yankees) vs. JA Happ (vs. Orioles)

As bad as 2019 was for the Orioles, John Means was an incredibly pleasant surprise. In 155 innings, he recorded a 3.60 ERA at the top of Baltimore’s rotation. That was far from the expectation for the former 11th round pick in the 2014 draft. There are some lingering doubts for the 27 year-old, however. Last year very well may have been a fluke, especially if FIP (4.41) or DRA (4.61) have anything to say. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, Means has been dealing with a dead arm.

Means.

I couldn’t envision a better opportunity (Baltimore) for JA Happ to get 2020 off on the right foot. He’s gone from an offseason trade candidate, to in the rotation but don’t let his vesting option exercise, to now potentially a key cog in the rotation. Without Luis Severino and some concerns about James Paxton, the Yankees could really use a rebound campaign from Happ. Although I’ve harped on the Orioles’ offense, there is one matchup to look out for here. Renato Núñez has clobbered Happ in the past: he’s 11-for-19 with a double, four home runs, and two walks.

Bullpen Status

RHP: Mychal Givens, Cole Sulser, Miguel Castro, Shawn Armstrong, Cody Caroll, Travis Lakins Sr., Evan Phillips, David Hess

LHP: Richard Bleier, Paul Fry, Tanner Scott

If there’s any strength for the Orioles, it’s the bullpen. And by strength, I mean relative to the rest of the squad. This is the 16th-best bullpen in MLB per Fangraphs, which is much higher than I would have anticipated. That said, these rankings accounted for having Hunter Harvey, who’s currently out due to elbow soreness. Harvey impressed in a brief stint with Baltimore last year during which he fanned 42.3 percent of opponents.

Baltimore’s best bullpen arm is Givens, though he’s not necessarily the closer. It seems like Givens, Richard Bleier, and Cole Sulser could all receive save chances this season. Harvey too, should he return. Back to Givens: the righty had a down season last year (4.57 ERA), but was victimized by a horrendous 22.8 percent home run to fly ball rate. In the meantime, he set a career-best 33.1 percent strikeout rate, so perhaps he can revert back to his previous form. He sure seems like a good trade candidate for Baltimore within the next year or two.


There’s no other way to slice it: the Yankees should sweep this short series. Granted, the season may not finish for good reason and everyone’s playoff odds are higher with an expanded postseason, but it wouldn’t be a good look to drop any games against Baltimore. Sure, they could lose because this is baseball, but none of us would be very pleased.

Baltimore Orioles Series Preview: 8/12 to 8/14

Get well soon, DJ Stewart. (MLB.tv)

For the final time this season, we get the pleasure of watching Yankees-Orioles. As a reminder, the Bombers have already set a record with 52 homers against Baltimore this season.

Since They Last Met

The last-place Orioles are great friends to the Yankees this season. Not only are they 2-13 against the Yanks (and have lost 12 straight), they also manage to do just enough against other teams to help out New York.

This weekend, the O’s hosted Houston. They lost the first game 3-2 and the second game … 23-2. They were poised to lose the finale before Rio Ruiz hit a walk-off homer. Thanks to that, the Yankees and Astros share the AL’s best record coming into today. Even when winning, they still had this mishap.

In addition to a 26th man, the Orioles will be adding a player to their roster before this game as they optioned RHP Tayler Scott after Sunday’s contest.

Injury Report

RHP Alex Cobb and LHP Josh Rogers are out for the season while DH Mark Trumbo very well might be. OF DJ Stewart is on the 7-day concussion IL after having a ball hit off his head during Yanks-O’s last week, and LF Dwight Smith Jr. is out with a calf strain.

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Player Spotlight: Adley Rutschman

The Orioles’ current 40-man roster is as bleak as life in a Cormac McCarthy novel, so I had to reach down to the New York Penn League to spotlight Baltimore’s shining hope: Adley Rurschman.

For those unfamiliar, Rutschman was the 2019 Golden Spikes Award (best amateur player) and Dick Howser Award (best college player) winner as the switch-hitting catcher for Oregon State. That came after leading the Beavers to the College World Series as the Most Outstanding Player in 2018.

The Orioles selected him first overall in the 2019 draft and gave him a record $8.1 million signing bonus. Right away, the catcher becomes the Orioles’ best prospect and the expected future leader of the franchise, a lot of weight to put on a 21-year-old. He’s touted for just about everything in his game from his swings and his defense.

Rutschman had a slow start to pro ball after homering in his first game, but he just came off a full college season. He did just hit a walk-off single against Staten Island this weekend.

Whether he turns out to be a bust, a solid talent like Matt Wieters or a superstar remains to be seen. As the Orioles reach their nadir, Rutschman represents the promise of a brighter future in the Charm City.

Potential Lineup

  1. Hanser Alberto, 3B (.315/.338/.409, 97 wRC+)
  2. Trey Mancini, 1B (.280/.344/.534, 127 wRC+)
  3. Anthony Santander, RF (.302/.344/.500, 119 wRC+)
  4. Renato Nunez, DH (.241/.309/.475, 103 wRC+)
  5. Jonathan Villar, 2B (.271/.336/.441, 105 wRC+)
  6. Pedro Severino, C (.265/.339/.442, 106 wRC+)
  7. Stevie Wilkerson, CF (.226/.272/.399, 73 wRC+)
  8. Jace Peterson, LF (.254/.274/.424, 77 wRC+)
  9. Richie Martin, SS (.191/.250/.296, 43 wRC+)

Their bench right now is backup catcher Chance Sisco (95 wRC+), 1B Chris Davis (53 wRC+) and INF Rio Ruiz (78 wRC+).

Pitching Matchups

Monday Game 1 (1:05 PM ET) James Paxton (vs. O’s) vs. Gabriel Ynoa (vs. Yankees)
Monday Game 2 (7:05 PM ET) TBD vs. TBD

After working in long relief for all of July, Ynoa stepped back into the rotation against the Yankees last week. All things considered, it wasn’t bad, allowing just three earned runs and one homer in 4.2 IP. This came after not throwing more than 34 pitches in 19 days.

Ynoa should be more stretched out this time around and the O’s will need him to step up. Game 2 of the doubleheader will likely be a bullpen game for both teams, so length is imperative for both Game 1 starters.

Tuesday (7:05 PM ET) Domingo German (vs. O’s) vs. John Means (vs. Yankees)

This is a marquee pitching matchup as far as these two teams are concerned. Means held the Yankees to one hit for the first time through the order last Wednesday before the Bombers knocked him out in the fourth inning with a series of long at-bats culminating in a Kyle Higashioka home run.

The left-hander is a lean, mean, changeup machine. He had it going for the first three frames last time out, but the Yankees have now seen him multiple times, so they may not be as susceptible to his best offering.

Wednesday (1:05 PM ET) J.A. Happ (vs. O’s) vs. Dylan Bundy (vs. Yankees)

The Yankees have seen Bundy thrice this season and each time he has allowed exactly three runs, either in 3.2 IP (twice) or 5.2 IP (once). The former top prospect comes into the series with a 5.04 ERA, 118 strikeouts and 24 home runs in 114.1 IP this season.

Funny enough, despite the high home run total, he’s actually giving up slightly fewer long balls per nine. There was very little room to go up after he led baseball with 41 allowed a season ago. Bundy has allowed fewer hard-hit balls and a slightly lower average exit velocity this season.

The right-hander attacks with a low-90s, high-spin four-seamer, which has been the victim of most of his homers. He tries to put hitters away with a low-80s slider and low-to-mid 80s changeup. The slider elicits a 49.1 percent whiff rate.

Bullpen Status

The Orioles used five relievers for three or fewer outs Sunday after three relievers and a position player covered six innings Saturday. As with the Yankees, they could be aided by another pitcher as their 26th man.

Right now, here’s their staff:

RHPs: Shawn Armstrong, Miguel Castro, Tom Eshelman, Mychal Givens, Branden Kline

LHPs: Richard Bleier, Paul Fry

Both Bleier and Fry have some high leverage experience while Givens, despite a down season, has operated as their top high-leverage reliever. Armstrong and Castro could get work in the middle-to-late innings as well, though Kline and Eshelman are primarily long men.

Baltimore Orioles Series Preview: 8/5 to 8/7

Villar (MLB Gifs)

For the first time in more than two months, the Yankees get to face the AL East’s worst team, the Baltimore Orioles.

Their Story Thus Far

At 38-73, the Orioles have the second-worst record in baseball to the woeful Tigers. Yes, the same two teams that each took two of three from the Yankees to start the season. The O’s have gone 2-10 against the Yankees, losing their last nine in the series.

Their pitching staff can charitably be described as a patchwork. They’ve allowed an MLB worst 676 runs this season. Baltimore has given up 218 home runs over 111 games, putting them on pace for 318 for the entire season, which would shatter the MLB record.

Injury Report

LHP Josh Rogers and RHP Alex Cobb are both out for the season. DH Mark Trumbo is still recovering from knee surgery and is out indefinitely.

OF Dwight Smith Jr. is on the 10-day IL with a calf strain while LHP John Means, on the IL with rotation cuff inflammation, is scheduled to be activated to start Wednesday.

(MLB Gifs)

Player Spotlight: Gleyber Torres

There are some offensive players having good seasons for the Orioles — Trey Mancini is as powerful as the last few seasons and is taking more walks now — but let’s talk about the best player to rule Camden Yards this season, Gleyber freaking Torres. Yes, even if he may not play Monday after leaving Sunday’s game early.

The 22-year-old infielder owned the Orioles on a Babe Ruthian level in the first 12 meetings of the season. In those games (11 starts), Torres sports an otherworldy .465/.540/1.233 batting line with 10 home runs, 13 RBI, 7 BB and 8 K. He has a hit in all 12 games.

Torres has five multi-homer games this season and four have come against Baltimore. He’s been even better at Oriole Park, batting .522 with seven homers and more walks than strikeouts. The two-time All-Star has a home run in four of his six starts in Baltimore this season.

Potential Lineup

  1. Jonathan Villar, 2B (.260/.326/.419, 96 wRC+)
  2. Trey Mancini, RF (.280/.341/.539, 127 wRC+)
  3. Anthony Santander, LF (.296/.344/.485, 116 wRC+)
  4. Renato Nunez, DH (.245/.315/.488, 108 wRC+)
  5. Pedro Severino, C (.271/.346/.457, 112 wRC+)
  6. Hanser Alberto, 3B (.314/.335/.405, 95 wRC+)
  7. Chris Davis, 1B (.184/.270/.324, 57 wRC+)
  8. Steve Wilkerson, CF (.228/.278/.399, 75 wRC+)
  9. Richie Martin, SS (.191/.249/.300, 44 wRC+)

Right now, they have a bench of just two players: Catcher Chance Sisco (99 wRC+) and utility man Jace Peterson (0 wRC+ in 39 PA). However, they sent down a reliever after Sunday, so they may add a bench bat before the series.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (7:05 PM ET) Masahiro Tanaka (vs. Orioles) vs. Gabriel Ynoa (vs. Yankees)

The Orioles’ swingman, Ynoa, will take the start after six straight impressive outings. The right-hander has appeared in six games since July 17 and has a 1.26 ERA with a .157/.204/.255 batting line against in that span. However, he hasn’t started a game since June 30 nor pitched more than 3 IP since July 17.

Ynoa, for the season, has a 5.55 ERA with a similar FIP (5.47) and xFIP (5.46). He boasts a career-low strikeout rate of 14.3 percent, which ranks in the bottom five percent of baseball and he’s allowed 14 home runs in just 71.1 IP.

The right-hander attacks with a 93-mph four-seamer and sinker, mixing in a slider and changeup. The slider has been his best pitch while 11 of his 14 homers have come on versions of his fastball.

Ynoa (Baseball Savant)

Tuesday (7:05 PM ET) TBD vs. Asher Wojciechowski (vs. Yankees)

Wojciechowski was grabbed off the scrap heap from the Indians earlier this season and has given the O’s a few great starts, including one of their best this season. On July 21, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Red Sox en route to a 5-0 win. He followed that up with seven innings of two-run ball.

However, the right-hander allowed four runs — two homers — and didn’t make it out of the fifth inning against the Blue Jays last time out before exiting with hip soreness. He should be good for this start, but his previous injury should be kept in mind.

Wojciechowski is a fly-ball pitcher and he’s been hit hard this season, allowing a 42.5 percent of balls in play to be hard hit. He’s gotten plenty of strikeouts by utilizing his low-80s curve and mid-80s slider, though he throws his fastball more than 50 percent of the time.

Wojciechowski (Baseball Savant)

Wednesday (7:05 PM ET) James Paxton (vs. Orioles) vs. John Means (vs. Yankees)

The Yankees haven’t seen Means since the season’s opening week, when he shut down the Yankees and earned one of Baltimore’s two wins against New York. That started him on a course towards becoming the O’s lone All-Star rep with a 3.12 ERA over 98 innings this year.

The left-hander has been out since July 24 with rotator cuff inflammation. In four starts in July, he allowed six home runs, yet put together two quality starts anyway.

He butters his bread with a fastball-changeup combo before occasionally going to his slider. The changeup is what befuddled the Yankees in March, though hitters have eight home runs against it this year. It allows him to play off a low-90s fastball as he gets 11 mph of separation on the two pitches.

Means (Baseball Savant)

Bullpen Status

The Orioles kept veteran Mychal Givens at the deadline, so he still sits near the back-end of their bullpen with an impressive strikeout rate and too many homers. Joining him is RHP Shawn Armstrong and LHP Paul Fry, each of whom have earned saves in recent games. Right-hander Miguel Castro has had good outings against the Yankees before and comes in with a 4.96 ERA.

Lefty Richard Bleier has a 6.34 ERA this season over 33 games. RHP Jimmy Yacabonis worked as an opener yesterday but can give the O’s length, as can RHP David Hess. RHP Branden Kline could also see work.

Yankees Connections

Jace Peterson spent all of a few days with the Yankees last season while RHPs Cody Carroll, Dillon Tate and Josh Rogers, all on the 40-man but not on the current roster, were traded for Zack Britton last year.

Bleier gave the Yankees 23 good innings in 2016 before they traded him for cash the following spring.

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