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Orioles-Astros series preview: The best of the West comes to Baltimore this weekend

The Astros roll into town for the first time this season, having bested the Orioles for two out of three games in Houston earlier in the year.

Baltimore Orioles v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

One of the best teams in baseball comes to town for a three-game series starting tonight. The Orioles, faced with more internal conflict than usual recently, will be pressed to keep the focus on the field against another very strong opponent.

Until now, the only other time the Orioles played the Astros this year was a three-game series in early June in Houston. The Orioles lost two of three. But they were only outscored by two runs in that series, scoring seven while allowing nine.

The Houston roster is stacked from top to bottom. They further reinforced their starting rotation at the trade deadline by adding Zack Greinke and Aaron Sanchez. The O’s will miss Greinke in this series, and also strikeout machine Gerrit Cole.

The Astros’ offense is formidable as well. As a team, they rank in the top three in baseball in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The only team in the American League with a better record than the Astros right now is the New York Yankees. The O’s will have their hands full in this weekend series at Camden Yards.

Game 1: Friday, 7:05 PM

LHP Wade Miley (10-4, 3.05 ERA) vs. RHP Dylan Bundy (5-11, 5.15 ERA)

Former Oriole Wade Miley returns to Baltimore, but he’s not the same pitcher that he was a couple years ago. Miley pitched to a 6.17 ERA in 54 innings with the O’s in 2016 and a 5.61 ERA in 157.1 innings in 2017. This year he’s got the 10th lowest ERA in baseball among qualified starters. Houston is known for getting the most of its pitchers and Miley is a prime example of that.

In his last five starts in particular, the left-hander has a 2.32 ERA and .170 BAA. He faced the Orioles back in June when he threw six shutout innings. But in 23 career starts on the Camden Yards mound, Miley has a 5.42 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. Hanser Alberto, the lefty killer, is hitting .429 in seven career at-bats against Miley.

The Orioles will send Bundy to mound tonight in the series opener against the Astros. The O’s right-hander actually has a worse ERA at home than he does on the road, 5.89 vs. 4.39. In five career appearances (four starts) against the Astros, Bundy is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. The Astros’ Josh Reddick is hitting .538 in 13 career at-bats against Bundy and Aledmys Diaz has two home runs in nine at-bats against the Orioles’ right-hander.

Game 2: Saturday, 7:05 PM

RHP Aaron Sanchez (4-14, 5.76 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Brooks (2-5, 5.45 ERA)

The middle game of the series will be the battle of the Aarons. Sanchez was acquired by Houston at the trade deadline from Toronto. He’d been having a rough year with the Blue Jays — putting up a 6.07 ERA — but in his first start with Houston he tossed six no-hit innings. The O’s can only hope they get the 2019 Blue Jays version of Sanchez.

The Astros’ right-hander is no stranger to Baltimore, having appeared in 19 career games (14 starts) against the O’s, putting up a 3.89 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. In 26 at-bats against Sanchez, Chris Davis is hitting .346 with five home runs. Trey Mancini, on the other hand, is hitting .154 against him in 13 total at-bats.

Right-hander Aaron Brooks will be making his sixth start as an Oriole. He’s still searching for his first win, having gone 0-2 in his first five outings. Over that time, he has averaged 3.3 BB/9 and 6.2 SO/9. His FIP (5.32) is actually lower than his ERA currently.

His last time to the mound, Brooks allowed three runs over five innings against the Blue Jays. He allowed five hits, three walks and struck out four.

Game 3: Sunday, 1:05 PM

RHP Justin Verlander (15-4, 2.68 ERA) vs. RHP Asher Wojciechowski (2-5, 4.89 ERA)

Verlander is putting together quite the season at age 36. He has the best WHIP in baseball, the fifth best ERA and is tied for second most strikeouts. Interestingly enough, he is also tied for most home runs allowed with 29.

In 11 career starts at Camden Yards, Verlander has a 2.42 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. In his most recent start, the right-hander went six innings and only allowed one run, with three hits, two walks and 10 strikeouts. In his past five starts he’s gone at least six innings and allowed no more than two runs.

Once again, Chris Davis is the Oriole with the most at-bats against a starter. In this case, he’s hitting .222 in 18 career at-bats against Verlander.

The Orioles will counter with Wojo in the series finale, who has provided a mixed bag of results since joining the ball club. In his past two starts, the righty has allowed four runs in 4.2 innings and five runs in four innings. That’s a far cry from the prior two starts, when Wojo threw a 7.1 inning shutout and allowed two runs in seven innings. The only two Houston batters to have faced Wojciechowski are Aledmys Diaz (0-for-2) and Josh Reddick (1-for-4).

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Three (sweep)
    (19 votes)
  • 2%
    Two
    (7 votes)
  • 17%
    One
    (41 votes)
  • 71%
    None (get swept)
    (170 votes)
237 votes total Vote Now