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Orioles-Blue Jays series preview: Let’s keep it going

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The Orioles will arrive in Canada with a winning record and some positive momentum. Can they keep the “win streak” alive?

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles will enter their second series of the season exactly how we all imagined— winners of two straight, and ahead of the New York Yankees in the AL East standings. Baltimore will look to keep the positive momentum going during three games in Toronto.

The Orioles bullpen deserves a large amount of credit for Baltimore’s early success. After riding an opener and five others to a victory on Saturday, John Means cleaned up an ugly start by Dylan Bundy for the club’s second victory last night. Miguel Castro, Mychal Givens and Mike Wright Jr. all pitched well on Saturday, and Means allowed only one run in 3.1 innings to keep the Orioles in the game on Sunday.

The Orioles have a plethora of pitchers like Means, Jimmy Yacabonis and David Hess that could all serve as starters or relievers. Whether or not their relief services are required will play a large factor into who starts games for Baltimore this year.

Game 1, Monday 7:07 pm

Starting pitchers: RHP David Hess (2018 stats: 3-10, 4.78 ERA) vs. RHP Sean Reid-Foley

David Hess will return to the mound to make his first start of the season for the Orioles. Hess pitched two relief innings against the Yankees and struck out two in two innings. The 25-year-old flashed some potential early last year, but struggled throughout the season until his ERA ballooned above five.

Hess falls into the category of Orioles pitchers that will serve as starters and relievers throughout the year. The righty could be used as an opener at times, but he’ll have the opportunity to earn legitimate starts if he pitches well. There’s certainly no shortage of fringe pitchers in Baltimore, but Hess has an inside track to take the ball every fifth day.

Reid-Foley, a 23-year-old former top prospect, is being pressed into service for this start due to a leg injury suffered by the originally-scheduled lefty, Clayton Richard. Reid-Foley is a righty, so that probably means a different Orioles lineup than we would have seen against Richard. The righty took some lumps at the MLB level last season (5.13 ERA in seven games started) but there’s no doubt he can strike people out, with 150 strikeouts in 129.2 minor league innings.

Game 2, Tuesday 7:07

Starting pitchers: RHP Andrew Cashner (0-1, 13.50 ERA) vs. RHP Marcus Stroman (0-0, 0.00)

Andrew Cashner will return to the mound after his clunker on Opening Day. The Yankees rocked Cashner to the tune of six runs in four innings. Cashner took the loss, but hopes to rebound Tuesday against the Jays. The righty did not fair well in his first season in an Orioles uniform.

Cashner finished last year with a 4-15 record and a 5.29 ERA. His 1.582 WHIP was the second highest of his career, and he walked 65 batters in 153 innings. The Orioles need Cashner to work deeper into games if they plan on utilizing the opener and bullpen games. Six runs in four innings simply won’t cut it.

Marcus Stroman didn’t receive a decision in his first game, but he pitched extremely well. The lefty allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings against Detroit. Now in his sixth season with the Blue Jays, Stroman serves as a veteran on Toronto’s staff. Stroman did walk four Detroit batters, so the Orioles could pick up a few base runners if they show some patience at the plate.

Game 3, Wednesday 4:07

Starting pitchers: TBD vs. RHP Matt Shoemaker (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

TBD may be a common theme for the Orioles this year, especially early on. If Hess and/or Cashner make early exits, Baltimore will turn to whoever did not pitch in relief. John Means pitched 3.1 strong relief innings against the Yankees on Sunday, and Jimmy Yacabonis could also be an option.

Matt Shoemaker matched Stroman with a strong start of his own to start the year. In his team debut, the 32-year-old allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings. Toronto signed Shoemaker to a one year/$3.5 million deal. He had spent the last six years with the Angels. The righty hadn’t completed seven innings in two years, so hopefully his first start as an anomaly.

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Three (Orioles sweep)
    (45 votes)
  • 36%
    Two
    (170 votes)
  • 46%
    One
    (221 votes)
  • 7%
    None (The Orioles get swept)
    (36 votes)
472 votes total Vote Now