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Orioles-Twins series preview: The O’s continue their trek through the AL Central

These two sides just finished up a three-game series last weekend, and here they are playing three more games this weekend.

Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles - Game One Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Long time, no see! These two teams just wrapped up a three-game set at Camden Yards on Monday, with the Twins sweeping the struggling Orioles. Now, the two sides meet up for another trio of match-ups, this time at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Since the last series between these two, the last-place O’s took two of three from the Chicago White Sox, and the first-place Twins dropped two of three to the Houston Astros.

The Twins have made a couple of minor roster changes in the last few days. Outfielder Jake Cave, who started all three games against the O’s and went 2-for-13 in the series, has been optioned to Triple-A along with pitcher Tyler Duffey, who tossed one scoreless frame against the Birds last week.

Game 1: Friday, 8:10 p.m. ET, MASN 2

RHP Alex Cobb (0-1, 11.88 ERA) vs. LHP Martin Perez (2-0, 5.31 ERA)

It has been a less-than-ideal beginning to Cobb’s second season in Birdland. Nearly a month into 2019, the right-hander has the same number (two) of starts as he does trips to the IL. The most recent of those starts came against these very same Twins, and it did not go well. He lasted just 2.2 innings, served up nine runs on 10 hits, no walks and two strikeouts, and then complained about the baseballs that the league is using. It’s unclear how healthy Cobb truly is, but the veteran is going to do what he can to fight through any existing ailments.

Perez was able to contain the O’s offense with a bit more ease. The southpaw lasted six innings while allowing just four runs on six hits, a walk and two strikeouts last time out. This will only be his third start of the season after he began the year out in the ‘pen.

Game 2: Saturday, 2:10 p.m. ET, MASN 2

RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 8.59 ERA) vs. RHP Jose Berrios (3-1, 2.97 ERA)

The Orioles may be going to a six-man rotation for the time being with lefty John Means more than earning a spot in the regular order. If not, Straily would be the pitcher with the best chance of transitioning back to a bullpen role. A solid start here could convince manager Brandon Hyde to stick with the current set-up.

Straily lowered his ERA another 1.5 runs last time out. Against Minnesota, he allowed three runs on six hits, three walks and four strikeouts over five innings. His big problem was the long ball; he gave up three. In spacious Target Field, Straily could be more fortunate.

Berrios might be a Cy Young contender, but the Orioles made him look pedestrian in his last start, hitting three home runs off of the righty and scoring four runs on eight hits, three walks and five strikeouts over six innings. Historically, however, he is a different pitcher at home. His 3.48 career ERA at Target Field is nearly two full runs lower than his mark on the road, and it’s due in large part to the fact that he has allowed only 15 home runs over 212.1 innings in the friendly confines, compared to 43 long balls elsewhere.

Game 3: Sunday, 2:10 p.m. ET, MASN 2

RHP Dylan Bundy (0-3, 6.56 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (1-0, 6.10 ERA)

Bundy is still in search of his first win of the season, but he has been looking better in recent starts. His outing last Sunday was arguably his best of the year. He threw a season-high six innings and allowed just two earned runs (four total) on seven hits, one walk and four strikeouts. For the righty, his success is highly correlated to whether or not he allows a home run. He did not last week and hopes to continue that trend here.

Against all logic, the Orioles seemed to struggle against Gibson more than any other pitcher on the Twins staff. He delivered a “quality start” by allowing two runs on five hits, six strikeouts and no walks over six innings, lowing his season ERA by more than one run.

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    0 (O’s get swept)
    (24 votes)
  • 60%
    1
    (89 votes)
  • 19%
    2
    (28 votes)
  • 3%
    3 (O’s sweep the Twins)
    (5 votes)
146 votes total Vote Now