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Orioles-Phillies series preview: The schedule gets tough again

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The Orioles will look to finish strong in what has already been a successful home stand. They also must decide who will take the mound Wednesday afternoon.

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

“Let’s play two!” I’m pretty sure Ernie Banks was talking about playing two games in a day, and not two games in a series, but we’ll take what we can get. If the weather permits, the Orioles will play two games in two days against the Phillies in Baltimore.

The Orioles enter tonight’s mini series against Philadelphia with a rare sliver of swagger. After starting the season 8-27, the Birds have won five of six games. The highlight of the Orioles recent swing was a 17-1 beatdown of the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday afternoon. The offense exploded for 17 runs in the first seven innings, and Dylan Bundy returned to form with seven shutout innings.

Joey Rickard homered twice in his return from the minors, and the Orioles finished with 19 hits. Now, Baltimore will look to keep its positive momentum going in its inner-league matchup.

Game 1: Tuesday, 7:05

Nick Pivetta (2-2, 4.15 ERA) vs. Andrew Cashner (1-4, 4.84)

Cashner did not receive a decision in his last two starts, and has not won since his only victory April 5 against the Yankees. However, the righty pitched well in his last start. Cashner allowed three runs in six innings against Kansas City last week. The Orioles eventually won the game 5-3.

Cashner has shown an ability to work relatively deep into ball games. He’s thrown at least six innings in five of his eight starts, and thrown at least 100 pitches in five games as well. However, he could work even further into games with more efficiency. Cashner has issued multiple walks in every start this season.

The Phillies will counter with Nick Pivetta. The Canadian has been inconsistent in his sophomore season in the bigs. He hurled five shutout innings in his last outing to pick up a win against the Giants, but allowed six runs in only one inning in Washington the start before. Pivetta has never faced the Orioles.

Game 2: Wednesday, 12:35

Vince Velasquez (3-4, 5.05 ERA) vs. TBD

An Orioles offense that just scored 17 runs should light up when they see an ERA that starts with a five. However, Velasquez has shown an ability to make hitters swing and miss. The righty struck out 12 Giants in six innings during his last start. In his only start against an AL East opponent this season, Velasquez pitched 6.2 innings and allowed only one run in Tampa Bay.

Velasquez has not pitched deep into games this season. He has yet to pitch seven full innings this year, and has pitched five innings or less four times. The Phillies bullpen is seventh in the MLB with a 3.35 ERA. The Orioles will likely have a chance to compete against Philadelphias relievers.

As of Monday night, the Orioles have not announced a starter for Wednesday afternoon. David Hess picked up a win in his first career start on Saturday, but the rookie would be starting on short rest if he pitched Wednesday. Hess will be a candidate to start later in the week if the Orioles do not send him to the hill on Wednesday.

With Chris Tillman on the DL, there is no clear starter. Miguel Castro has yet to start a game this year, but has impressed in some deep relief outings. He picked up a win on Thursday with 4.2 innings of shutout ball. Castro has not pitched since his win against Kansas City.

MASN’s Roch Kubatko has suggested Tim Melville could be an option for Baltimore. Melville is not on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, but has a great deal of success in the minors this year. He’s currently 5-0 with a 2.97 ERA. Showalter has stated that the Orioles have taken note of his strong results so far this season.

The Orioles have put together an impressive run over the last week. Now, they’ll have a chance to build upon recent success. To win a two-game series, you have to win both games. Will the Orioles end their home stand with a sweep?

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Phillies?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    2 (sweep!)
    (166 votes)
  • 36%
    1 (draw)
    (168 votes)
  • 26%
    0 (swept)
    (123 votes)
457 votes total Vote Now