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Orioles-Mets series preview: O’s try to continue success against the Mets

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The Birds close out the interleague play portion of their schedule as the Mets come to Baltimore for two games.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The 2018 Orioles have a winning record again exactly three teams this season: the Braves, Royals, and Mets. It is the Mets who are coming to Camden Yards for a quick two-game series beginning tonight at 7:05.

The O’s won the two games these clubs played against each other in Queens on June 5 and 6. Both were one-run victories with the scores being 2-1 and 1-0. Alex Cobb and Dylan Bundy started those games and pitched excellently. Brad Brach picked up the save in each game. I’d say that those were good times, but the two wins improved the O’s record to 19-41.

The O’s are coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of Boston in which they were outplayed in every possible way. The series dropped their record to 35-84, good for a winning percentage of .294. Baltimore has lost five in a row, eight of their last ten, and three series in a row. If you care about the race for the first overall pick in next year’s draft, the O’s are in the lead, 1.5 games “ahead” of Kansas City.

The Mets come into Baltimore with a record of 50-66. On Sunday they wrapped up a weekend series in Miami in which they won two of three games. Yesterday was supposed to be an off day for the Mets like it was for the Orioles, but they made up a previously rained out game against the Yankees at Citi Field. They won the game and Jacob deGrom started for them. Thankfully, the O’s will miss him during the Mets’ stay in Baltimore.

Overall, it’s been a disappointing season for New York. After starting the season 10-1, they are now 16 games under .500. Yoenis Cespedes is out for the season and Noah Syndergaard has missed some time due to injury. Their general manager, Sandy Alderson, stepped down earlier this summer and there appears to be some drama surrounding which direction the organization will go in the offseason. (The Orioles aren’t the only ones!)

Game 1: Tuesday, 7:05

Andrew Cashner (3-10, 4.83) vs. Jason Vargas (2-8, 8.75)

Cashner will make his 23rd start of the season tonight. He hasn’t been exactly what the O’s needed this year; he’s allowing more than one and a half baserunners per inning and has spent some time on the disabled list. His ERA was down to 4.33 before a dreadful August 2 start (10 runs in 1.2 innings) ballooned it to over five. But his most recent outing was encouraging. He allowed one run and four hits in seven innings against the Rays.

Todd Frazier is the only current Met to have more than ten at bats against Cashner and he has owned the Birds’ starter to the tune of a 1.236 OPS.

There isn’t a good way to spin an 8.75 ERA; Jason Vargas has been pretty bad this year. After leading the league with 18 wins and making the All-Star Game for Kansas City last year, Vargas signed a 2 year/$16M contract and has not performed. His WHIP is a horrific 1.838 and he’s given up 2.3 home runs per nine innings. Rain cut short his last start, but he only recorded one out while giving up three runs. This will be Vargas’ fourth start after returning from an injury that shelved him for about a month. He made the start against the O’s on June 5, taking the loss despite giving up two runs in five innings.

Vargas has handled most current Orioles very well. Adam Jones is batting .182 over 33 at bats, Mark Trumbo is batting .217 over 23 at bats, and Chris Davis is at .190 in 21 at bats against Vargas. Trey Mancini has two hits in four at bats.

Game 2, Wednesday 7:05

TBD vs. Zack Wheeler (7-6, 3.82)

The O’s may be missing deGrom and Syndergaard, but they’re catching one of the hottest pitchers in the league. Zack Wheeler comes into this game on a five game winning streak and has lowered his ERA from 4.44 in those five outings. Most recently, he beat the Marlins while allowing two runs over seven innings. Overall, his WHIP is 1.221 and he’s struck out 8.9 batters per nine innings. Currently at 134.1 innings pitched, he’s on pace to throw the most frames of his four-year career. In all, he’s accumulated 2.6 WAR according to Baseball Reference.

Wheeler is largely unknown to the Orioles. Two players (Trumbo and Jonathan Villar) have six at bats against him and nobody else has more than three. There hasn’t been any real success in those limited opportunities. No current Oriole has a home run or RBI off of Wheeler.

Tomorrow’s starter has not yet been named by Buck Showalter, but it would be David Hess’ turn in the rotation. The fact that he hasn’t been confirmed for this start calls his spot in the rotation into question. Hess’ ERA is now at 6.25 and his WHIP has crept up to 1.508. His last outing at Tampa Bay was mediocre. After being given a 3-0 lead, he allowed the game to be tied before completing six innings.

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win in this series?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    2 (O’s sweep)
    (22 votes)
  • 55%
    1
    (66 votes)
  • 26%
    0 (O’s get swept)
    (31 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now