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Baltimore Orioles vs Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim series preview: July 8-10

It is a weekend of giveaways as the O’s close out the “first half” of the 2016 season

The Orioles have one final series before the All-Star break, which five Birds will be taking part in. This weekend they welcome the Angels to Camden Yards for a three-game set. This series has all kinds of fun things to look forward to: a celebration of the 1966 World Series team, that ridiculously hyped up #MannyMagic Garden Gnome and who the heck is starting Friday’s opener?

These two teams already met once before, back at the end of May in California with the hosts taking two out of three.

Heading into Thursday’s action, the Angels sit at 35-50, fifth place in the American League West, 17 games behind the first-place Rangers and 11 games away from a wild card spot. They aren’t very good.

On offense, they are just kind of mediocre, ranking 15th in MLB in runs (390), 24th in home runs (84), 8th in batting average (.268), 14th in OBP (.327), 16th in slugging percentage (.413). Pitching is where they have really struggled. Their team ERA (4.53) is 22nd, opponent batting average (.272) is 27th, WHIP (1.41) is 21st and strikeouts (613) are 26th.

However, they do have Mike Trout who is having another fantastic season. Over 85 games, he is slashing .323/.425/.574 with 18 home runs, 20 doubles, 14 stolen bases and 56 RBI. In addition to him, Kole Calhoun and C.J. Cron have been relatively productive, but they likely expected more from Andrelton Simmons and Albert Pujols is playing right around replacement level.

Friday, June 8 at 7:05 p.m. ET, MASN 2

RHP Matt Shoemaker (3-9, 4.40 ERA) vs. TBD

As of the writing of this post, the O’s had not announced the starter for Friday. It seems as though it is between Ubaldo Jimenez and Mike Wright. Oh boy...what options! Jimenez was OK against San Diego last week, going five innings and allowing one run, but he got hit around in Seattle (4.1 innings, six runs). Wright has been fantastic since being sent to Norfolk, allowing just two runs over 20.2 innings.

Shoemaker turned a corner when he allowed the Orioles only three hits and no runs over 7.1 innings back on May 21. He has been the Angles most reliable starter the last month or so until he struggled against the Red Sox last time out (five runs, 4.2 innings).

Daily Baseball Data

Prior to the game, the O’s will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1966 World Series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team is telling fans to be in their seats by 6 p.m. to enjoy everything. In addition, all fans in attendance will receive a t-shirt with the same logo that can be seen on the players jersey sleeve.

Saturday, June 9 at 4:05 p.m. ET, MASN 2, WJZ

RHP Nick Tropeano (3-2, 3.28 ERA) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (3-1, 6.10 ERA)

Tropeano is having a nice year for the Angels. He is pretty much the only pitcher that can say that, but advanced metrics suggest things will get darker for the 25-year-old. His FIP is 4.90 and his left on base percentage of 89.7 seems unsustainable. None of this matters too much. The only Oriole he has ever faced is Mark Trumbo (0-for-2), so it’s pretty much a coin flip.

Gallardo is yet to be even as good as he was on his first start of the season against Minnesota when he went five innings and allowed one run. He currently teeters on the edge of mediocre and bad. He has made one start every against the Angels. He last four innings, gave up five runs on eight hits, three walks and three strikeouts. He was lucky to get a no decision.

Daily Baseball Data

This is the BIG giveaway day. Manny Machado Gnome night. Anticipate a sellout and it being one of those games where people go in to get the gnome and then split. Smh. But don’t fret, it is an “All fans” giveaway, so if you have a ticket you should get a gnome.

Sunday, June 10 at 1:35 p.m. ET, MASN 2, WJZ

RHP Tim Lincecum (1-2, 7.50 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (11-2, 3.55 ERA)

The Freak is back in the majors and his first start was pretty good (W, six innings, one run), but since then he has allowed 14 runs over three starts and 12 innings. LA doesn’t have a lot of options when it comes to starters but he cannot continue to flame out so early in starts. A move to the bullpen seems possible, if not an outright release, should he struggle with the Birds.

Tillman is not going to play in the All-Star Game despite being the only consistently competent starter in the Orioles clubhouse. Fine by me. Now he can get a few days off and recuperate foe the stretch run. The Angels are his hometown team and he has done well against them in four chances. Over 25.2 innings he is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA, 15 strikeouts and seven walks. Come on, Chris! Show the AL what they are gonna be missing San Diego.

Daily Baseball Data

There is another giveaway on Sunday. Again, it is for every fan in attendance. This time it is an Adam Jones “JUMBO” baseball card. I can’t find exactly how jumbo it is, but I’m thinking about the size of those Sports Illustrated for Kids posters.

Thanks for reading! So, how many wins can the O’s get heading into the mid-summer break? Zero, one, two or three? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter and Facebook.