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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.

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Baltimore Orioles Series Preview: April 26 to April 29

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Up until this past weekend’s series against Cleveland, the only other series the Yankees had won this season was against the Orioles. Now, the Yankees meet Baltimore again, but this time at Camden Yards. It’s a four game set between two clubs tied for last place in the AL East with 9-12 records. The Orioles are destined to finish in the division’s cellar, whereas the Yankees should be able to climb out of it by the end of this series.

Baltimore Orioles Series Preview: April 5 to April 7

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Break up the Orioles! Fresh off a sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park, Baltimore comes to Yankee Stadium for a three game series against the Yankees. Let’s take a look at the AL East’s first place and undefeated club.

Their story so far

The Orioles dismantled the Red Sox over the weekend, outscoring them 18-5. Boston isn’t supposed to be very good this year, but keep in mind that this is what’s expected to be an even worse Orioles team. A team that literally had zero percent odds of making the playoffs entering the 2021 campaign.

Baltimore’s rotation trio of Actually Good Pitcher John Means, a revived Matt Harvey (!), and Bruce Zimmermann (who?) confounded Red Sox hitters in this series. So did the Orioles’ bullpen. And it’s not like Boston is without any good bats. It’s a lineup that features Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez, among others.

Means set the tone in the series after he pitched seven shutout frames in the opener. The left also allowed just one base hit. The Yankees will see him on Wednesday. Harvey and Zimmermann also fared well (10.2 innings, 5 runs combined), but the Yankees will miss those two.

Offensively, the Orioles didn’t hit much until yesterday’s 11 run outburst. It was the aforementioned pitching that beat Boston. But yesterday, the O’s blitzed Boston with a three run first frame and a seven run third inning to leave the Sox in the dust. Cedric Mullins was the star yesterday; he reached base in all six plate appearances.

Although Baltimore comes in to the Bronx on a high note, they’re not to be mistaken as some sort of upstart club. As you’ll see below in the team’s projected lineup and probable pitchers, there’s a reason this team is projected to finish in the AL East cellar. Facing the Orioles is a good opportunity for the Yankees to bounce back from the team’s stumble out of the gate against Toronto.

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.

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