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Orioles-Twins series preview: The return of Alex Cobb

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The Orioles return to Baltimore and Alex Cobb returns from the injured list. The righty will look to set the tone in the first game of the series.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After a matchup with the first place Rays, the Orioles will head home to take on another winning team. The Twins come to town in second place of the AL Central, and will be the favorite in the series.

Alex Cobb will be back in action in the opener, and he draws a tough matchup against Jose Berrios. The Orioles will look to tap into the Minnesota’s bullpen, and they’ll need their own relievers to rise to the occasion.

Game 1: Friday, 7:05

  • RHP Alex Cobb (0-0, 3.18) vs. RHP Jose Berrios (2-1, 2.30)

Cobb will return from the injured list to make his second start of the season. The Orioles moved Cobb to the IL for a lumbar strain after a start against the Yankees on April 4. Cobb allowed only two runs on five hits in 5.2 innings He said he did not feel any discomfort after throwing a bullpen session on Tuesday.

Cobb’s return will shift John Means to the bullpen for now. MASN’s Roch Kubatko reported that the Orioles still intend to use Means as a starter and a reliever, and that he could be available out of the bullpen on Friday. No one should expect Cobb to work particularly late into his first game back.

How Cobb pitches may not matter if Jose Berrios pitches to form. He’s produced a quality start in all four appearances this year, and he boasts a league-leading 0.73 WHIP. The 24-year-old has struck out seven or more in three of his four starts, and made it through six innings in all four. Berrios pitched a complete-game shutout against Baltimore last season.

Game 2: Saturday, 7:05

  • RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 10.24) vs. LHP Martin Perez (1-0, 5.02)

Dan Straily cut his ERA in half his last time out by tossing five innings of one-run ball against the Red Sox. The fact that it’s still in double digits tells the tale of his first two appearances. Straily allowed five runs on eight hits in a start against Oakland after surrendering five runs in less than two frames of relief in New York.

What was the difference for Straily his last time out? He did not allow a home run after giving up two homers apiece in his first two appearances. The Twins rank ninth in the American League with 20 home runs. The Orioles rank 11th with 18.

Martin Perez worked six innings in his first start of the year after three relief appearances. He held the Blue Jays to just one run while scattering seven hits. The 28-year-old lefty throws hard, and hit 97 MPH his last time out.

Game 3: Sunday, 1:05

RHP Dylan Bundy (0-2, 7.79) vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (0-0, 7.36)

Dylan Bundy gets the nod on Easter Sunday, and hopefully won’t lay another egg. In four starts, Bundy has yet to throw more than five innings and his ERA has not dipped below 7.36. Bundy has surrendered a home run in his last three starts, including four bombs against Oakland last week.

The good news is that Bundy won’t be the only righty with an ERA over seven in this game. Kyle Gibson has not worked deep into games, and the Orioles should see the Twins finale in the series finale. The Twins bullpen ranks toward the bottom third of the league with a 4.75 ERA.

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Three (Orioles sweep)
    (15 votes)
  • 42%
    Two
    (92 votes)
  • 43%
    One
    (96 votes)
  • 7%
    None (Orioles get swept)
    (16 votes)
219 votes total Vote Now