Well, friends, here we are at the end of the road for my series previews, before your regularly scheduled Charlie Bacon returns. I was optimistic about the Mariners series and pessimistic about the Athletics series, so you'll be glad to know that I'm feeling a bit of trepidation as the Mets roll into town for a quick two-game series. The Orioles get to face a pair of right-handed flamethrowers who've had a ton of success this year (a big part of why the Mets are in first place... that and the joke that is the NL East). The Orioles counter with...a pair of right-handers. So how do things look?
Tuesday, 7pm: Kevin Gausman vs. Jacob deGrom
The 27-year-old deGrom is in his second major league season, and ... wow. I just don't know what else to say about a guy putting up a 2.03 ERA with more than a K per inning, a 0.89 WHIP, and less than a home run per nine innings. The Orioles will have their work cut out for them in this game. DeGrom has allowed more than three earned runs twice this year, and both were before July. Good times.
The Orioles do get to counter with their own right-handed flamethrower in Kevin Gausman, but unfortunately Goose's results have been far less consistent. You never know if you'll get a run of shutout innings or a frustrating outing with a poorly timed home run or two. Gausman's 4.48 ERA hasn't happened by accident, but he's peppered in some solid starts since the Orioles committed to him as a full-time starter in late June. We'll see if we get one of those tonight.
Wednesday, 7pm: Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Noah Syndergaard
Do you know how many ways I tried to spell Syndergaard's name before I got it right? Snydergard. Snydergaard. Syndegaard. It is a terrible name. Oh, also, he's not quite deGrom, but he has some nasty stats if you're an opposing offense: 9.5 K/9, 3.07 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 0.9 HR/9. Like deGrom, it's not just that Syndergaard is a good pitcher, it's that he's good in the exact ways that limit the Orioles -- lots of K's, very few dongs. If he gives up runs, it's on timely hits, which ain't exactly how the Orioles' offense rolls.
And just as Syndergaard and deGrom have a lot in common, so do the 2015 versions of Ubaldo and Gausman. You just can't know what you're going to get on any given outing. After eight brilliant shutout innings against Anaheim, Jimenez struggled against Oakland, allowing four earned runs in five inefficient innings. He has a sub-4.00 ERA overall, but he's no ace, nor is he the definition of consistency.
The Bottom Line
Each of these games will be a likely struggle for the Orioles offense. They'll need to work counts, use all fields, string together hits -- things they don't do. They'll also need the good version of each of their two Jekkyl-Hyde starters to show up. Baseball's a funny game; you never know what will happen in any given matchup. And of course, the Orioles ride a little momentum into this series. But on paper, these two matchups both look strong for the Mets heading in.