The White Sox come to Baltimore today for another series with significant AL wild card implications. The Orioles have reached the point of the season where every game feels important, but matchups against fellow contenders carry more weight.
Baltimore took three of four games against Chicago back in June. The Orioles won the first three games of the series, but the White Sox dodged the sweep with a 4-3 win in the finale. The O’s only need one more win to clinch the season series, but the Birds should have higher aspirations heading into the three-game set.
The Orioles enter the series well rested and riding high after a thrilling win on Sunday Night Baseball. Baltimore still has plenty of work to do down the stretch, and this series represents its final opportunity to directly distance itself from the White Sox.
The AL Central, similar to the AL East, has multiple teams competing for a playoff spot. While the division crown appears much more up for grabs in the Central, the White Sox, Twins and Guardians will all play a factor in the final wild card standings.
Game 1: Tuesday, 7:05. MASN.
RHP Austin Voth (3-1, 4.86 ERA) vs. RHP Dylan Cease (12-5, 2.09 ERA)
The White Sox will throw out their best starter right away with Dylan Cease making the start. Cease enters the game as one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball. The righty has sat down 178 batters in only 133.2 innings this season. His 2.88 FIP sits slightly higher than his 2.09 ERA, but the 26-year-old has blown hitters away all season.
The Orioles will try to outlast Cease and work into a Chicago bullpen that ranks in the lower third of the league in several categories. It would be nice if they could avoid any perfect game bids through the first six innings, though.
The Birds will counter with Austin Voth. Voth has transformed from an opener to a legitimate starting pitcher capable of working into the sixth inning. Voth holds an impressive 2.81 ERA and 1.125 WHIP during his time with the Orioles this season.
Game 2: Wednesday, 7:05. MASN 2.
RHP Spenser Watkins (4-3, 4.04 ERA) vs. RHP Lucas Giolito (9-7, 5.34 ERA)
Speaking of guys who have transformed into legitimate starting pitchers, Spenser Watkins has cemented himself in Baltimore’s rotation. Watkins took a hard-earned loss his last time out after giving up just one run in 5.2 innings against the Cubs. Watkins limited the White Sox to just one unearned run in five innings back in June.
Lucas Giolito was considered one of the better pitchers in the AL Central entering the season, but the 28-year-old has not pitched like an ace this year. Giolito allowed seven runs in three innings against the Astros last week, and his 5.34 ERA represents a significant uptick compared to the last three years. His struggles rank at the top of the list of disappointments for a Chicago team that expected to run away with the division this season.
Game 3: Thursday, 7:05. MASN.
RHP Jordan Lyles (9-9, 4.61 ERA) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (3-5, 5.30 ERA)
The Orioles send out Jordan Lyles in a battle of veteran starting pitchers. Lyles has provided Baltimore 138.2 serviceable innings this season, but the righty failed to complete five frames in his last two starts. Lyles recorded three straight victories from July 28-to-August 8 that included only three earned runs in 17.2 innings.
Lance Lynn has found a groove lately with a 3.06 ERA in his last six starts. The 35-year-old is pitching more like the guy that represented Chicago in the All-Star game last season, which could spell trouble for Baltimore.
How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the White Sox?
This poll is closed
3 (Orioles sweep)
0 (Orioles get swept)