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Orioles-Rays series preview: The final series of the year

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Opening Day feels like a long time ago — because it was. This series will end in October and with the new month, the sun will set on another season of Orioles baseball.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 season is almost over. Whether or not you’re ready for Orioles baseball season to wrap up, that’s the reality of what the calendar is telling us. Enjoy these next few days of watching MASN — winter is coming and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

Even though we’re all ready for spring and the beautiful fake baseball of March, the time has come to pack up and head for the offseason. That is, after this final series of the year against the Tampa Bay Rays that serves as meaningless baseball down at The Trop.

We’ll write and read about it anyway, because it’s baseball. (Come on, spring...)

Game 1, 7:10 p.m. - Friday, September 29th

Wade Miley (8-14, 5.52 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (10-8, 4.26 ERA)

When he’s been healthy, Odorizzi has had a rather above-average season despite what that ERA might indicate. He’s allowed just 115 hits in 139.1 innings, striking out 123 along the way. Opposing hitters haven’t consistently gotten contact, but his career-high 1.9 HR/9 rate hasn’t been helpful.

For the Orioles, this might be an opportunity to pad those home run stats one final time in 2017. In total the lineup has performed fairly well, with the O’s roster working a .266/.316/.464 slash line in 274 at-bats in Odorizzi’s career.

Miley has a 1.70 WHIP this year. That speaks volumes to the type of season he’s had, as does the above ERA. For him, this one might be nothing more than an opportunity to ride into the offseason on a high note. 88 walks later, the season hasn’t treated him kindly. In this game against the team that drafted him, he’ll look to return to that April form.

Game 2, 6:10 p.m. - Saturday, September 30th

Miguel Castro (3-2, 3.29 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (4.18 ERA)

Here’s a storyline that should keep some interest alive in the second-to-last game of the season. Giving Castro a start is a telling move that might just give us a hint into the organization’s thought process as the 22-year-old continues his development.

Castro started in 35 minor-league games, so it’s not like he hasn’t been on the hill to kick things off before. What could it hurt? With this weekend closing out the year, it’s time to kick around even the craziest ideas.

Archer is Archer, and if the past is any indication, the Orioles will have a shot at a decent game here. Especially as of late, the Birds have had the 29-year-old’s number when he’s been on the mound on the other side. Keep an eye on the matchup with Jonathan Schoop. He’s 10-24 in his career against Archer with five extra-base hits. It’s the little things this time of year.

Game 3, 3:10 - Sunday, October 1st

Kevin Gausman (11-11, 4.81 ERA) vs. Blake Snell (4-7, 4.27 ERA)

Well, this is it! The final Orioles baseball game of the year. Regardless of how you feel about it, the time has come to close the book on 2017. But first, the pitching matchup of the year — Gausman vs. Snell in a game that has both offenses shaking in their boots.

For both Gausman and Snell, this is about heading into another offseason with confidence and a bit of momentum. They’re two guys in similar spots — Gausman with a bit more big-league work — in that they need to have their best years in the next couple of seasons to reach the potential that was there at their respective drafts.

Gausman’s had a rough go of it in 2017, and it’d be encouraging to see him close out the year with a solid performance. Giving up more than 200 hits in a season isn’t quite the classic recipe for success. It’s his job to send this team into the offseason on a semi-encouraging note.

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win this series?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    0
    (9 votes)
  • 41%
    1
    (28 votes)
  • 30%
    2
    (21 votes)
  • 14%
    3
    (10 votes)
68 votes total Vote Now