In the few years since the 2018 Orioles fell apart and this year, the best record the team brought into the All-Star break was last year, when they were 28-61. That has changed in a big way with the 2022 team making it to the break with a .500 record of 46-46. Where will it go from here? If the Orioles are able to do something good, they’ll certainly have earned it, because they’ve got the American League’s toughest remaining schedule.
The Orioles will be getting right into that with their first series out of the break. Tonight through Sunday brings three games against a Yankees team that’s absolutely laying waste to all competition. The O’s have gone 4-9 when facing this New York squad so far, which actually isn’t that bad considering the Yankees have a .681 winning percentage overall.
In some ways, it feels like the Orioles have nothing to lose the rest of the way. Hardly anyone in the baseball talking class expected anything other than another 100+ loss season from the O’s this season. They haven’t mathematically settled that yet, but it’s only a matter of time. As it is, the Orioles only need to go 2-8 in their remaining July games to have a winning record for a second consecutive month, something the O’s haven’t done within the same season since May/June 2016.
On the other hand, now that the Orioles have gotten here, it would be nice if they could at least stay here, you know? Three straight games coming out of the gate for the second half getting their butts whipped by the Yankees would put good feelings aside in a hurry, especially if that includes the two best O’s starting pitchers to date, Tyler Wells and Dean Kremer, getting knocked around.
It is hot and humid in late July in Baltimore, as you would expect. The ball will probably be flying. The Yankees, let’s face it, have dudes better positioned to take advantage of that, even with Aaron Judge whining about the new left field wall the last time he was at Camden Yards.
Game 1, Friday, July 22, 7:05 Eastern, MASN
Starting pitchers: Tyler Wells (18 GS, 3.38 ERA / 4.06 FIP) vs. Jameson Taillon (18 GS, 3.86 ERA / 3.77 FIP)
DraftKings odds: The Orioles are +135 to win this game. The over/under for total runs scored is set at 9.
The Yankees have had five pitchers make at least 16 starts so far this season. The worst ERA among this group is Taillon’s 3.86. In the 2022 run environment, that puts him at slightly below average on the park/league-adjusted ERA+, with a 99, which hasn’t stopped him from putting up a 10-2 record - the best on the Yankees - due to obscene run support. When this guy is the softest opponent you’re going to face, that’s a tough task.
Taillon has been no great shakes in two starts against the Orioles this year, allowing five earned runs over 9.2 innings. The Yankees still won both games. Wells has faced the Yankees three times already this season, allowing four earned runs in 14 innings. The Orioles lost all three of these games. Wells was the pitcher of record in only one of them.
Unrelated to either team’s starting pitchers, let’s take a moment to be disgusted at one of this Yankee team’s strokes of Satan-fueled good fortune. 36-year-old Matt Carpenter, who had been completely washed the last two years with the Cardinals, surfaced with the Yankees after being released by the Rangers earlier this season. Carpenter has gone on to hit 13 home runs in 31 games.
Game 2, Saturday, July 23, 7:05 Eastern, MASN
Starting pitchers: Jordan Lyles (19 GS, 4.76 ERA / 4.35 FIP) vs. Gerrit Cole (19 GS, 3.02 ERA / 3.29 FIP)
Lyles has faced this Yankees team four times already in the 2022 season. He got shelled in one of them, allowing six runs in 4.2 innings of a 12-8 slugfest loss, The other three games saw him combine to allow six runs in 19 innings. The O’s have gone 2-2 in these Lyles starting against New York games. If he can put another good one on his ledger, the O’s should have a chance to pick up a win even considering they’re going up against Cole.
Cole has done nothing but live up to his $324 million contract since he signed it prior to the 2020 season. He is averaging about six innings per start, striking out nearly a third of all batters he’s faced this season, and has a WHIP under 1. His one problem is giving up homers, but they haven’t hurt him much. Cole is averaging about 5.1 bWAR per full season with the Yankees. The Orioles have not had a 5+ bWAR pitching season since Erik Bedard rocked a 5.8 WAR for the 2007 season.
Oh yeah, and if a team doesn’t come away with a lead after Cole pitches 6+ innings against them, then you get the Yankees bullpen, which has not suffered in the slightest from Aroldis Chapman’s ability to get batters out evaporating after the 2020 season. There are three guys, including new closer Clay Holmes, rocking a WHIP under 1 with at least 32 games pitched for this bullpen. What are you supposed to do about that? The Yankees having a record of 64-30 offers an obvious answer: Lose two out of three.
Game 3, Sunday, July 24, 1:35 Eastern, MASN
Starting pitchers: Dean Kremer (8 GS, 2.59 ERA / 3.59 FIP) vs. Nestor Cortes Jr. (17 GS, 2.63 ERA / 3.56 FIP)
Now in the third year of his MLB career, Kremer has faced the Yankees five times, more than any other opponent. He has allowed a 5.01 ERA in those games. The 2022 version of Kremer has thus far been different from the past. With two starts against the Rays this year and one against the now-surging Mariners, he hasn’t exactly been facing nothing but cupcakes. Safe to say, though, this will be the toughest test for the new look Kremer yet.
Kremer’s 2021 was marked by allowing 17 home runs in 53.2 innings. He’s slashed his home runs allowed rate by more than 75% since last season. That’s good! This series will bring him up against Aaron Judge (34 home runs), Giancarlo Stanton (24 home runs), and Anthony Rizzo (22 home runs). So, you know. Good luck to Dean.
Cortes’s success this season would be one of the coolest stories in MLB if he wasn’t on the Yankees, denying me the ability to find joy in any such success. The former Orioles Rule 5 pick has a funky mustache, seems like he has a delightful personality, and also is striking out more than a batter per inning while limiting walks. He last saw the O’s in April, picking up 12 strikeouts in five shutout innings.
Three games is only 1.9% of a baseball season. But they’re more than a quarter of the remaining games between now and the August 2 trading deadline, so that makes them feel very important. If the Orioles are swept here, a bigger sell-off seems likely than if the O’s somehow win two out of three and keep the good times rolling. They’ve already surprised us by being 46-46 so far. Maybe they can do it some more.
In the last series before the break, 23% of Camden Chat readers correctly guessed that the Orioles would win one of the three games against the Rays. If you got it right, good job. If you didn’t, here’s another chance to make a better guess about what’s going to happen.
How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Yankees?
This poll is closed
3 (Orioles sweep)
0 (Orioles swept)