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Orioles-Pirates series preview: The penultimate series of 2017

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The O’s are done at home for the season, but there are still five more games to be played before they call it a year.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Baltimore Orioles
Shhhh, Manny. It’s almost over.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles just wrapped their final homestand of 2017, and damn, the time has flown. There are, however, five more games to be played before the team officially closes the book on 2017.

The second-to-last series will be of the two-game variety, played at PNC Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates are also not a good baseball team, presently 71-85 to the Orioles 75-82.

The two teams’ suckitude has come from different sides of the ball this year—the Orioles are ranked 27th in MLB in team ERA and 12th in MLB in runs scored, whereas the Pirates are 12th in team ERA and 28th in runs scored. The whole thing sort of has a neat chirality of sub-mediocrity.

Looking ahead at the short, two-game set that will begin after both teams take a breather on Monday, here are the starting pitching match-ups and game times:

Orioles @ Pirates, 7:05pm - Tuesday, September 26

Kevin Gausman (11-10, 4.61 ERA) vs. Trevor Williams (6-9, 4.18 ERA)

In what will be Gausman’s final start of 2017, he’ll be looking to put a punctuation mark on what has really been a tale of two seasons. In the beginning of the year, he looked lost and was the Orioles worst starter—especially given lofty pre-season expectations.

Now Kevin has strung together a second-half that saw him post a 3.63 ERA in July, 3.48 ERA in August, and a 2.25 ERA so far in September. There is much hope moving forward for this young gun, and he has really emerged to be the Ace (of a pitiful staff)... it just took him half a season of getting blown out to get there.

Trevor Williams is having an average campaign, which is just fine for a rookie. But when I say “average,” I sure do mean average. He’s nestled in right around 2.0 fWAR, he has struck out 6.92 batters/9, he’s walked a few too many at 3.18 BB/9, his ground ball rate is 48.3%, and he doesn’t give up many homers (13 in 144.1 IP so far this season).

I really, truly, have no angle on this guy besides the fact that as negative of a connotation that “average” may have, those numbers would look sterling in the Orioles rotation.

Orioles @ Pirates, 7:05pm - Wednesday, September 27

Gabriel Ynoa (2-2, 3.41 ERA) vs. Chad Kuhl (7-11, 4.31 ERA)

Gabriel Ynoa has been comfortingly effective in his three starts for the Orioles this season. All three starts happened to have come in September, and on the tail of a pretty horrific season in AAA, but it’s easy to forget that Gabe is only 24 years old.

He came over from the Mets in the off-season for a bucket of baseballs, and I was never quite clear on how he was available for said baseballs. He had a pretty good MiLB career, and was only given a tall (in Starbucks sizes) cup of coffee (18+ IP) in all in the Majors.

Ynoa is a major wildcard, but if you’re looking for things to wish on for 2018 (you probably should be searching pretty hard), Ynoa could potentially be a bright-ish spot in what is shaping up to be a pretty dull rotation (again). Don’t get me wrong—these fringe guys more often fall-off forever. It’s just nice to be getting some solid innings right now.

You might (but probably don’t) remember Chad Kuhl from his solid, but unspectacular start against the O’s at OPACY back in June. Kuhl surrendered four hits and only one earned run over five innings pitched on his way to a non-decision. You may wonder why he only threw five innings if we was pitching well.

I remember writing about it back then, and I still don’t have an answer for you—but for some reason Kuhl averages only ~5.0IP per start (even over a full season’s-worth of 30 starts). He doesn’t walk a ton of people (4.19 BB/9 compared to Wade Miley’s 7.89 BB/9), causing him to throw a bunch of innings. He’s just an unconventional guy, shrouded in mystery... sort of.


With the Birds attempting to continue to improve their draft order for 2018 finish 2017 strong, how many games do you think they can put in the win column this series?

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win this series?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    nada!
    (20 votes)
  • 49%
    one
    (62 votes)
  • 34%
    all two!!!!!
    (43 votes)
125 votes total Vote Now