For the second consecutive weekend, the Orioles and Twins are playing a series together. Last weekend, in Baltimore, the Twins took two out of three from the Orioles and completely shut down the O’s offense. They scored just three runs in the series, it was pretty demoralizing.
When the Twins and Orioles parted ways, the Twins went home to play their division rival Royals while the Orioles went on the road to play their division rivals, the Yankees. Something not quite the same about those things, huh? While the Orioles were struggling to get a series split with the Yankees in New York, the Twins easily swept the Royals and then had yesterday off to rest up. So that’s nice for them.
The Twins, and the AL Central as a whole, have been something of a joke around baseball this year. The Twins have been in first place in the division for some time despite the fact that they have hovered around .500 for much of the season. They are currently at 45-43, the same record as the Red Sox, who are last in the AL East.
What isn’t a joke, though, is the Twins’ pitching staff. Their team ERA of 3.55 is the best in the American League and their starters average 5.7 innings per game, also tops in the AL. Their top four players in bWAR are four starting pitchers: Sonny Gray (3.3), Bailey Ober (2.5), Joe Ryan (2.0), and Pablo López (1.7). Just the Orioles’ luck, they are facing the top three this weekend.
Where they don’t rate as highly is with the hitting, where their team OPS+ is slightly below the league average at 96. They rank in the bottom third of the league in most offensive categories, and their big star Carlos Correa is having a hard time keeping his OBP above .300 this season.
Game 1: Friday, July 7th, 8:10 pm - Apple TV+
LHP Cole Irvin (6.32 ERA/5.01 FIP, 31.1 IP) vs RHP Bailey Ober (2.70 ERA/3.42 FIP, 76.2 IP)
Ober had his best start of the season last weekend against the Orioles, when he pitched seven shutout innings with just two hits. He struck out eight and walked none, outdueling Kyle Bradish. The Orioles looked simply hapless against him. Let’s hope they have figured a few things out.
Irvin pitched against the Twins last weekend and he wasn’t half bad! By Irvin standards, anyway. He gave his team five innings with just one run allowed, though he did give up six hits and walk three. That’s a lot of baserunners in five innings. Since being recalled from Triple-A, Irvin has been better, but he still gives up a few too many runs.
Game 2: Saturday, July 8th, 2:10 pm - MASN
RHP Tyler Wells (3.19 ERA/4.75 FIP, 98.2 IP) vs RHP Sonny Gray (2.50 ERA/2.84 FIP, 93.2 IP)
Gray also pitched against the Orioles last weekend, though he wasn’t quite as good as his teammate above. He only pitched six shutout innings, not seven. And he walked three. The Orioles came back and won that game after Gray exited, but that wasn’t his fault. He has been excellent this year, though June was his roughest month with a 3.95 ERA/4.24 FIP. Hopefully he’ll look more like that pitcher (or worse) this weekend against the Orioles.
Wells started game one of the last series against the Yankees and gave up two runs on two solo homers, as is his way. He pitched six innings and left the game with a lead that the bullpen couldn’t hold. Despite being homer-prone, Wells keeps runners off the bases and continues to head the league with his 0.902 WHIP. If he can pitch the way he normally does he should be able to handle the Twins’ lineup.
Game 3: Sunday, July 9th, 2:10 pm - MASN
Kyle Gibson (4.73 ERA/4.08 FIP, 102.2 IP) vs RHP Joe Ryan (3.42 ERA/3.37 FIP, 102.2 IP)
Finally, a pitcher the Orioles did not face last weekend. Ryan is having a fine season and is coming off of a 6 IP, 2 run effort against the Royals. The 27-year-old strikes out a lot, 10 per nine innings. and he walks few, 1.4 per nine. He’s somewhat homer prone.
As for Gibson, this is a pitcher that the Orioles need to get himself together. He’s pitched a string of duds leading into this game, although at least in the most recent game he gave the Orioles some length, hanging in there for six innings. But overall he’s looked bad over the past month and the Orioles really need him to turn it around.
How many games will the Orioles win in this series?
This poll is closed