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Orioles-Phillies series preview: More spoiler opportunities as the O’s roll into Philadelphia

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It’s the first and only time these teams meet in 2021, with the Phillies trying to catch the Braves and the Cardinals for a playoff spot. 

Baltimore Orioles v Philadelphia Phillies
The Orioles and Phillies met earlier this year in spring training, and DJ Stewart hit an RBI single.
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The O’s enter the home stretch with nothing to play for but individual achievements and, well … pride? Cedric Mullins is one home run away from being just the 22nd AL player to enter the 30-30 club. Ryan Mountcastle’s ROY chances have been on the rise thanks to a torrid second half. Trey Mancini wants to get over this oblique issue and finish his comeback season strong. And presumptive ace John Means has more to show.

At 76-73, the Phillies sit two games out of the NL East lead and 3.5 games out of the second wild card spot. They’re not exactly in a downward spiral, with a 5-5 record in their last 10 games, but they’ve lost ground in the Wild Card race to a surging St. Louis. The perennially disappointing NL East is still open, however, with frontrunner Atlanta just 4-6 in their last ten and the Mets swooning but not out of it, at 3.5 games behind Philadelphia. The Braves and the Phillies are scheduled to meet to close out the season, so control of the division might await that matchup.

These games are vital to the Phillies, and they’re not hiding their big guns, either, with Zack Wheeler and Ranger Suárez, their two best arms, getting the game ball this series.

The Orioles haven’t announced their starters for Game 2 and Game 3, but based on turns in the rotation, you might expect Chris Ellis, Keegan Akin, or maybe Mike Baumann to get the start.

Game 1: Monday, 7:05 PM

LHP John Means (5-7, 3.41 ERA) vs. LHP Ranger Suárez (6-4, 1.50 ERA)

Ranger Suárez hasn’t been a starter for long, but he’s been stellar this year. The 26-year-old Venezuelan pitched to a 1.12 ERA in 27 appearances out of the bullpen before manager Joe Girardi decided to swap him into the rotation in favor of the struggling Vince Velasquez and Matt Moore. Since August 2, Suárez has a 1.85 ERA in nine turns as a starter. So I guess the experiment is working.

John Means is 0-4 in his last eight starts dating back to August 6, with a 4.57 ERA. But some of that was rust after returning from injury, and he’s been much better in his last four starts, with a 3.00 ERA and .198 BA against. This season has had highs and lows for Means, and it would be huge to see him put together a few solid starts to close out the year.

Game 2: Tuesday, 7:05 PM

TBD v. TBD

Game 3: Wednesday, 7:05 PM

TBD v. Zack Wheeler (14-9, 2.83 ERA)

The O’s haven’t announced their starter for this game either, but whoever it is will face a tall task in opposing starter Zack Wheeler. In his second season with Philadelphia, Wheeler is having a career year: he earned his first trip to the All-Star Game, he’s leading the NL in innings pitched (200.1), complete games (three), shutouts (two), and strikeouts (231). So yeah, it’ll be tough.

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    3 (O’s sweep)
    (8 votes)
  • 13%
    2
    (39 votes)
  • 48%
    1
    (137 votes)
  • 34%
    0 (O’s get swept)
    (96 votes)
280 votes total Vote Now