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Orioles-Rockies series preview: Keep on rolling through these guys

With the Rays playing the last place Yankees, the Orioles must take care of business against the last place Rockies

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

The Orioles are 14-7 in the month of August and they have gained exactly half of one game in the standings over the second place Tampa Bay Rays. One reason for this is that the Rays spent the last three games playing these woeful Colorado Rockies. In each of the three games, the Rockies led the game or had at least a tie heading into the eighth inning, and they lost all three. The Rays beat them every time. Thanks for nothing.

It is going to be up to the Orioles to take advantage of the opportunity of playing this team. The Rockies are a mess. They strike out the most. They have the worst on-base percentage. They have the worst ERA. This is not entirely because of home games at Coors Field, because even on the road they’re averaging just over five runs allowed per game.

Even so, there are no free wins in MLB. These 48-79 Rockies have won series against contenders like the Red Sox, Marlins, and Brewers. Ryan McMahon has 21 homers. Young outfielder Nolan Jones already has 13 homers in 71 games. And you never know, any random player can always go off against the O’s - so perhaps it’s a relief that former nemesis Randal Grichuk was traded to the Angels and is not around to hurt them, at least in this series. The O’s will be playing the Angels next week.

Game 1: Friday, 7:05 ET, MASN

Probable pitchers: Cole Irvin (18 G / 10 GS, 58 IP, 4.66 ERA, 4.25 FIP) vs. Kyle Freeland (24 GS, 129 IP, 5.02 ERA, 5.18 FIP)

For me, I was disappointed by Irvin’s early results and just assumed he’d never contribute. He’s been trying to win me back over with his performance so far in the second half of the season (3.10 ERA) and especially in August, having held batters to a .512 OPS against. That will play, and is at least enough of a sign that he might have a place in the rotation that gets the Orioles into the best playoff spot that they possibly can.

The 30-year-old lefty Freeland is headed the opposite direction. He has a 1-9 record on the road this season, with a 5.40 ERA. He is worse in the second half so far, having allowed a 6.23 ERA and .944 OPS against in five starts since the break. He doesn’t strike anybody out - just a 5.8 K/9 for the season. It is a theme for this series: A serious contender has got to swat these guys aside as the Rays just did.

Game 2: Saturday, 7:05 ET, MASN

Probable pitchers: TBD vs. Chris Flexen (22 G / 9 GS, 67.2 IP, 7.18 ERA, 6.72 FIP)

As of this writing, the Orioles starting rotation is in a bit of a state of flux that stems from Jack Flaherty being scratched from his Wednesday start. The Orioles were able to move everybody up on their regular rest due to Monday’s off day, but they haven’t announced anybody for Saturday and Sunday yet. Maybe Flaherty will slot back in this weekend. It doesn’t seem to have been ruled out.

Flexen has been on a bad journey this year. His former team, the Mariners, traded him just to get him to go away; the team that acquired him, the Mets, immediately released him because they didn’t even want him. He found his way to the Rockies and has continued his struggle.

Much like with Freeland in the Friday night game, the Orioles must destroy him. They can’t have any of these games be “inexplicably suck against a bad pitcher” kind of games. While the Orioles are playing the Rockies, the Rays face the last place Yankees. The righty Flexen, listed at 6’3” and 219 lbs., has given up 19 homers in 67.2 innings this year. The O’s lefties and switch-hitters need to hit some flag court or even Eutaw Street dingers.

Game 3: Sunday, 1:35 ET, MASN

Probable pitchers: TBD vs. Ty Blach (13 G / 6 GS, 41 IP, 4.39 ERA, 4.87 FIP)

Truly unhealthy Orioles sickos might remember one or more of the five games that Blach started for the 2019 team. He gave up 26 runs in 20.2 innings at that time, which is very, very 2019 Orioles.

Blach, now 32, found his way back to the majors in the Rockies bullpen last year, and has been pressed into the rotation this season. It hasn’t gone horribly for him up to this point, especially by Rockies standards. His ERA, when adjusted for park and league, comes in at a 115 ERA+ - that’s better than Tyler Wells’s ERA+ for the O’s this year. Ty Blach! Who would have guessed?


It is not out of the realm of possibility for the Orioles to equal their 2022 win total by the end of the month of August. They are actually going to have to play well to do this, and keep on taking care of business against the bad teams they are facing. Still: 4-2 gets them to 83 wins. That would be something. It’s not guaranteed! Nothing is guaranteed. But if they do what they should, that’s where they’ll be.

Me being me, I am nervous rather than confident about this series. The letdown potential is high. I’ve thought this about a lot of series so far this year and the O’s have mostly avoided the letdowns, mostly kept on winning. That’s why they are where they are. But seriously: It’s the Rockies, so they really, really can’t let us down on this one.


How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Rockies?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    0 (Orioles are swept)
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    (10 votes)
  • 39%
    (206 votes)
  • 58%
    3 (Orioles sweep)
    (304 votes)
524 votes total Vote Now