It feels like everything that has been written lately about the Orioles has been viewed through the lens of their current stretch of 22 games against winning teams. The Orioles have knocked out three of the seven series they’ll pay in that stretch with two series wins and one series loss, with a record of 5-4. Not bad.
Next up for the Orioles are the Los Angeles Angels, a team that has the two best baseball players of our time but which still isn’t really that good. Even with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, are just one game above .500 and in third place in the AL West. Yes, the Angels are a winning team, but they’re also a weak link in this stretch of seven series.
The Orioles go on to face the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Rangers after they play the Angels, so it would behoove them to win at least three out of four against this team. The Pittsburgh Pirates walked into Camden Yards a first-place team and walked out in second place. I’d like to see the Angels walk into Camden Yards as a team above .500 and leave as a team below .500. Are the Orioles up to that?
Unlike the Pirates, the Angels did not start out the season at an incredible pace and are now falling back to earth. They also didn’t start off horribly and are now climbing back. They’ve just been plodding along as a .500-ish team. They did have a five-game win streak at the start of May that took them up to five games above .500, but they’ve played slightly worse than .500 since then and frittered that bump away.
The hottest hitters on the Angels are, as you’d expect, Trout and Ohtani. They’ve actually got freakishly similar stats. Going into Sunday they had both his eight home runs. Trout’s batting line is .279/.367/.510. Ohtani is hitting .288/.364/.521. Ohtani’s OPS+ of 139 is one point higher than Trout’s 138.
We all know about those two. Who else do we need to keep an eye on? Hunter Renfroe is having a good season with 10 home runs, but he isn’t an on-base machine like Trout and Ohtani. Anthony Rendon is having a decent year (119 OPS+) when he’s not getting suspended for attacking fans.
Game 1: Monday, May 15th, 6:35 pm
RHP Shohei Ohtani (8 GS, 46 IP, 2.74 ERA) vs RHP Grayson Rodriguez (7 GS, 33.2 IP, 5.08 ERA)
As good of a hitter Ohtani has been this year, he’s been an even better pitcher. His 2.74 ERA equates to an ERA+ of 164, meaning he’s 64% better than the average. His 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings is the best in the league. He had back-to-back clunkers against the A’s and Cardinals of all teams, giving up nine runs in 11 innings. But he got back on track against Houston on May 9th when he gave up three runs in seven innings.
Oh, and by the way, in those so-called clunkers? He still struck out 21 batters.
In a year this might be a marquee matchup, but right now Grayson Rodriguez is still an up-and-down rookie. He’s coming off of his career-longest game against the Rays, 5.2 innings. I’m still always excited to see what he’ll do. He may not strike out as many as Ohtani right now, but 11 K/9 is nothing to sneeze at.
Game 2: Tuesday, May 16th, 6:35 pm
RHP Chase Silseth (4 G/0 GS, 8.1 IP, 3.24 ERA) vs RHP Dean Kremer (8 GS, 41.2 IP, 4.97 ERA)
Chase Silseth has appeared in four games out of the bullpen for the Angels, most recently on May 7th when he gave up six runs (three earned) in 3.1 innings against the Rangers. This will surely be a bullpen game, which makes the pessimist in me feel nervous. Surely the Orioles will be able to take advantage. Right? Right??
As for Dean Kremer, his ERA has dropped from 6.67 on April 29th to its current 4.97, and it happened while pitching against the Braves and the Rays. Please let this be the real Kremer. The team could really use it.
Game 3: Wednesday, May 17th, 6:35 pm
RHP Griffin Canning (5 GS, 24 IP, 6.38 IP) vs RHP Kyle Bradish (6 GS, 25.2 IP, 4.56 ERA)
Ok, this one is the trap. A 6.38 ERA? Canning is coming off two very poor starts against the Astros and Cardinals. Between the two he gave up 10 runs in 8.2 innings, which is why his ERA looks the way it does. Canning strikes out a decent, but not great number of batters this year. But he has an ugly 1.375 WHIP to go along with that high ERA. He’s the kind of pitcher that makes you feel like would give Mr. Splash a workout. But that’s the trap.
Kyle Bradish is coming off this best start this season and hasn’t had a true stinker since he gave up seven runs to Boston on April 25th. He’s another one who needs to keep the success going if the Orioles are going to keep up this winning pace.
Game 4: Thursday, May 18th, 12:35 pm
LHP Tyler Anderson (7 GS, 37.2 IP, 5.26 ERA) vs RHP Tyler Wells (8 G/7 GS, 47 IP, 2.68 ERA)
It’s the battle of the Tylers!
Veteran Tyler Anderson is in his eighth major league season with his sixth team. He is, I guess, a crafty lefty. Wait. This one is the trap. I’m sure of it this time. A lefty who walks too many batters and whose fastball tops out at 90 mph? I’m terrified.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is our Tyler, Tyler Wells. Until someone takes the crown from him, Wells is the Orioles’ ace. His 2.68 ERA is the best of any starter in this series. Take that, Ohtani!
How many wins will the Orioles have in this series?
This poll is closed