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Orioles-Diamondbacks series preview: September 23-25

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Yes, the Orioles are playing the Diamondbacks in the last week of September. I don’t get it either.

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Darin Wallentine/Getty Images

Listen, I understand that since there are an odd number of teams in each league that there will always be interleague play going on. It’s been that way for awhile and it makes sense. But playing the Arizona Diamondbacks in September in the very last home series of the season is just straight up weird.

I always say that it’s harder to pay attention to teams on the west coast and teams in the National League. Add in that the Diamondbacks are terrible and it’s like the trifecta of things I don’t care about.

Quick - how many Diamondbacks can you name without looking at a roster? For me it’s Zack Greinke, Paul Goldschmidt, Shelby Miller, and Socrates Brito. The first two are long standing good players, the third was part of a big offseason trade and has turned out to be a bust, and the fourth has a really cool name.

The Diamondbacks are so bad that at one point this season Adam Loewen was on their team. Yes, THAT Adam Loewen. He’s back to pitching, if you haven’t kept track. Loewen gave up 10 runs in six innings before they had seen enough.

Truthfully, the D-Backs haven’t been all that bad offensively this year. They have scored an average of 4.66 runs per game, which is just about the same as the Orioles who are at 4.63.

Yes, a team that has 88 losses has scored more runs than the Orioles. Of the nine players who have played >100 games for them, six have been above average based on OPS+. And a seventh, Wellington Castillo, is at 97 which is pretty good for a catcher (Matt Wieters is at 79). That could be a problem.

It’s the pitching where the D-Backs have really had their problems. They have allowed 5.63 runs per game, which is worst in the majors. I know that it feels like the Orioles pitchers have been pretty bad this year, but they’re over a run better at 4.53. The D-Backs two big pitching acquisitions this year were Shelby Miller, who has just terrible, and Zack Greinke, who has been a disappointment.

Game 1: Friday, Sept 23, 7:05 ET

Yovani Gallardo (5-8, 5.77 ERA) vs Shelby Miller (2-12, 6.90)

Okay so it’s a little bit silly that I spent that last paragraph trash talking the D-Backs for their pitching when the first pitcher the Orioles are sending out is Yovani Gallardo. He’s terrible, if you haven’t noticed.

More terrible than Gallardo, though, has been Shelby Miller. I’m not going to pretend to have any insight on what happened to Miller, who had two good seasons in St. Louis and one in Atlanta before completely falling apart in Arizona. Maybe he hates dry heat. He spent time on the disabled list back at the end of May, and spent over a month in triple-A before being called back up on August 31st.

In four starts since his callup he has continued to be terrible. Lefties absolutely destroy him, so look for all of those guys to be in the lineup against him. It’s hard to have much confidence in the O’s offense after the Red Sox series, but they should destroy this guy. The big question is, will they destroy him even more than the D-Backs destroy Gallardo?

Game 2: Saturday, Sept 24, 7:05 ET

Wade Miley (1-5, 7.55 ERA) vs Robbie Ray (8-13, 4.66 ERA)

Gallardo and Wade Miley is quite a 1-2 punch, don’t you think? The ERAs in this series are disgusting. Miley was actually pitching well for once in his last start, so of course he had to come out after four innings with back cramps. That was back on September 18th and by all accounts he’s good to go physically. Maybe he’ll pick up where he left off?

Robbie Ray is a baseball player that I recognize but who I don’t know much about. I can tell you that he’s a lefty with a fastball in the 90s. We don’t even need to talk about how the Orioles are against lefties at this point, do we? Ray is having a lousy September with 17 runs giving up in 21 innings over four starts. He strikes out 11.39 batters per nine, so look for the Orioles to have about 15 of them.

Game 3: Sunday, Sept 25, 1:35 ET

Dylan Bundy (9-6, 4.13 ERA) vs Braden Shipley (4-4, 5.49 ERA)

I have joked about not knowing many D-Backs, but I’d be lying if I said I had ever heard the name Braden Shipley before seeing him on the probable pitchers list for this series. In my defense, Shipley is a rookie who has appeared in just 11 games this season. He is a right-handed pitcher whose fastball averages just a touch over 90 mph. He doesn’t strike many batters out and he has struggled with his control since he got to the majors. Also, he’s a four eyes.

I’m not happy about Dylan Bundy pitching, although with the word that Kevin Gausman is suffering an intercostal strain, there aren’t many other options. Bundy last pitched on Monday, which means he’ll have one extra day of rest. In my opinion he needs way more than that. I would have rather seen Worley start, but of course he was needed to mop up after Chris Tillman yesterday.

“Fun” Facts

  • The Orioles are 3-12 all time against the Diamondbacks.
  • The last time the Orioles and D-backs played was in August 2013. The playoff hopeful Orioles went into Arizona and lost three times via walk off. For many fans that felt like the beginning of the end.
  • The last Orioles pitcher to get a win against the D-Backs was Daniel Cabrera on June 20, 2007. The longest-tenured Oriole, Adam Jones, didn’t join the team until 2008.