Tune in tonight for Game Two of three in Cincinnati, coming to you at the weird hour of 6:40 ET. If the impending trade deadline is affecting the Orioles’ frame of mind, well, they aren’t showing it.
The third-best bullpen ERA in baseball? Check.
The fourth-best total defensive runs saved? Check.
A 16-7 record in the month of July? Check.
Two games back of a Wild Card, and now 34% odds to make the postseason? Yeah, that, too!
The team successfully avoided the trap game last night, although they did make Mike Minor look like it was 2019 again. Steve Melewski reported this am that the O’s have a -46 run differential from innings 1-5 and a +46 differential from innings 6-on. We certainly saw that last night when they got shutout for five innings, then piled on four runs in the top of the ninth!
Tonight right-hander Dean Kremer gets his turn at keeping the July surge alive. Over the last 30 days, Baltimore has a 3.41 ERA as a team, which breaks down to a sparkling 2.36 for the bullpen and a 4.23 mark for the starters. On the starter side, that’s not bad (if, before the year, you’d told Orioles fans their starters would have the 18th-best ERA in the Majors, no one would have been mad, right?). But with injuries taking their toll, there’s a need for stability right now.
A bounceback game out of Dean Kremer would be huge. After a brilliant 1.29 ERA in the month of July, over four starts in July he’s managed just a 5.68 ERA. His 4.60 FIP is certainly better, though, and his batted-ball data is actually not bad. Kremer has also managed to cut down on the walks from his rookie season: from a 14.5% walk rate in 2020 to 10.2% last season and a 6.6% now. In July, Kremer sustained the most damage on the curveball; his command of the pitch has looked wonky of late. It’d be cool to see him regain his feel for it today.
Cincinnati is definitely in seller mode, having already shipped off its ace, Luis Castillo, in a five-player trade with Seattle (the team’s favorite trade partner, apparently, since that’s where Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez landed last year). On Friday, the Reds also traded outfielder Tyler Naquin and lefty reliever Phillip Diehl to the Mets for a pair of prospects.
Today’s starter, Tyler Mahle, has also come up a bunch in trade rumors, but if it happens, it’s happening after tonight’s start. The 2013 draftee has a 4.47 ERA but very good peripherals. Mahle throws 51% fastballs, 25% splitters, 13% sliders, and 11% cutters, his fastball being his best pitch (.163 XBA). With Robinson Chirinos getting the day off, none of today’s lineup has faced Mahle more than once.
On the subject of the lineups: Terrin Vavra fans, rejoice! He still hasn’t managed to dislodge Rougned Odor from 2B, but he is getting the start today at DH. Tyler Nevin gets a rare start at 3B, too, pushing Urías over to short.
1. Cedric Mullins CF
2. Adley Rutschman C
3. Trey Mancini 1B
4. Anthony Santander RF
5. Austin Hays LF
6. Rougned Odor 2B
7. Ramón Urías SS
8. Terrin Vavra DH
9. Tyler Nevin 3B
1. Jonathan India 2B
2. Brandon Drury 3B
3. Tommy Pham LF
4. Joey Votto 1B
5. Mike Moustakas DH
6. Kyle Farmer SS
7. Nick Senzel CF
8. Jake Fraley RF
9. Michael Papierski C