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Orioles-Tigers series preview: The Birds head to Detroit

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For the Orioles to get back on track, they need a series win. They’ll have a great opportunity to pick one up against a struggling Detroit team.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Before the season began, there was a lot of talk about the difficulty of the Orioles schedule. So far, Baltimore’s opponents have lived up to the hype. With the Orioles sitting at 5-11, they absolutely must take care of business against a 4-9 Tigers team.

The Orioles dropped three straight in Boston before the series finale was postponed due to weather. Chris Tillman and Alex Cobb were both shelled, and Baltimore wasted another quality start from Dylan Bundy. The Orioles will need quality performances from Andrew Cashner, Kevin Gausman and our old friend TBD.

Game One: Tuesday, 6:40 PM

RHP Andrew Cashner (1-1, 2.50) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (1-1, 2.13)

If you want to take the series, you should probably start with a win in game one. Cashner did little to impress in his first start, but pitched well in his last two games. The righty has 16 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched, and a 1.11 WHIP.

Franky Liriano pitched very well in both of his starts this year. The lefty threw 6.2 innings of one run ball against Kansas City, and followed it up with 6 innings and two earned runs at Cleveland on Monday. Liriano allowed just four hits against the Royals and only three to the Indians. He did walk a combined five hitters in his first two starts, and the Orioles will need baserunners if they intend to take the season opener.

Game Two: Wednesday, 6:40 PM

RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 6.60) vs. LHP Matthew Boyd (0-1, 1.38)

If you skipped over the ERA’s of the two players, take a quick peek. Sure it’s early in the season, but a five-run differential paints a pretty clear picture of the two pitchers have fared early this year.

Two games, two starts and two runs allowed for Boyd. The lefty did not receive a decision after throwing 7 innings of one run ball in Cleveland, and somehow picked up a loss after 6 innings and only one run allowed against the Royals. Dylan Bundy feels his pain.

Boyd’s velocity is down about three miles per hour this year, but his winning percentage is up. After a 6-11 season last year, less has been more for Boyd. Whether or not the Orioles can pick up Boyd’s timing could determine the game.

Speaking of a lower velocity, Kevin Gausman’s may not be by design. Gausman’s four-seem fastball has dropped over two miles per hour from a year ago, and he’s seen mixed results. The LSU product was shelled in his first start against the Twins, did not receive a decision in New York, and picked up his first win with six strong innings against Toronto. Gausman will look to build off of a season-high seven strikeouts in his last start.

Game Three: Thursday, 1:10 PM

TBD vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, 8.18)

Chris Tillman and Mike Wright probably felt like they were hit in the jaw after their starts this season, Zimmermann really was. The righty took a Jason Kipnis line drive to the face against Cleveland last week. Zimmermann left with a bruised jaw in the first inning, but avoided a trip to the disabled list. He allowed four runs to Pittsburgh, and was taken for a ride by the White Sox to the tune of six runs in 4.1 innings before his start in Cleveland.

Who will the Orioles send out on Thursday? Who should fans want the Orioles to start Thursday? I don’t know the answer to either. Have the Orioles seen enough of Tillman? They easily could have. Ubaldo Jimenez is gone, and a majority of the fans’ ire has turned to Tillman. Still, a lack of a replacement may earn the guy another chance.

The Orioles could skip Tillman’s spot and send out Alex Cobb on Thursday after Monday’s postponement. Cobb struggled in his Oriole debut, but there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Orioles’ most hyped offseason signing. On the other hand, Cobb would likely benefit from some extra rest after a delayed start to the season.

Regardless of who starts Thursday, the Orioles are at an early crossroads. Nobody expected the Orioles to go out and sweep the defending World Series champs to start the season, and the team ran into a buzzsaw when they traveled to Boston. But these are the games that the O’s need to win. This series is an opportunity for the Orioles to inch back towards a .500 record. With a four game series against the Indians looming, Baltimore has little room for error in Detroit.

Poll

How many games with the Orioles win in this series?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Three (get the brooms out)
    (49 votes)
  • 44%
    Two (better than they entered the series)
    (93 votes)
  • 26%
    One (ugh)
    (56 votes)
  • 6%
    Zero (*crying face emoji*)
    (13 votes)
211 votes total Vote Now