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Up Next: Blue Jays host high-flying Orioles for four-game set

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Photo credit:Daniel Kucin Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Georges
1 month ago
The second-place Baltimore Orioles (37-20) come to town this week in one of the more important series of the young season. These teams last played on May 13-15, splitting two games, with one game washed out because of rain. That rainout will be made up on July 29th. The Orioles have won eight of their last ten games and own the best road winning percentage in the Major Leagues this season (16-8, .667).

Nuts and Bolts

Monday, June 3rd, 7:07 EST: Grayson Rodriguez (5-2, 3.53) vs Kevin Gausman (4-3, 4.14)
Tuesday, June 4th, 7:07 EST: Corbin Burnes (5-2, 2.35) vs TBD
Wednesday, June 5th, 7:07 EST: TBD vs Jose Berrios (5-4, 2.78)
Thursday, June 6th, 1:07 EST: TBD Kyle Bradish (1-0, 3.18) vs Yusei Kikuchi (2-5, 3.66)

Starting Pitching

The Orioles received some tough news this week, announcing that starters John Means and Tyler Wells will both be lost for the season due to injury. They will join Dean Kremer on the injured list, who is expected back sometime this month. That means that Wednesday’s starter is a question mark for the O’s as of this writing, with the best bet being Albert Suarez filling the void.
Baltimore’s pitching has been very strong as a whole this year, ranking 4th in the Majors in both total pitching ERA as well as starting pitching ERA. They have unsurprisingly been led by offseason trade acquisition Corbin Burnes, who owns a 2.35 ERA and 1.05 WHIP through 12 starts. The Jays will get their second look at Burnes in an Orioles jersey on Tuesday night, after he fired six one-run innings against them back in May.
Former top prospect Grayson Rodriguez has definitely come into his own for the team this season, punching out 61 batters through 51.0 innings, 2nd to Burnes. Rodriguez will line up against Gausman in the lid lifter on Monday night. Kyle Bradish will get the ball on Thursday pitching quite well of late, leading the club with a 12.71 K/9 in 6 starts since coming back from injury.
An important starting pitcher that the Blue Jays will not see this week is yesterday’s starter Cole Irvin, who has a 2.84 ERA and 1.16 WHIP through nine starts. Irvin will likely continue to be leaned on as the season moves forward, especially with the injuries in the O’s rotation.

Relief Pitching

The Orioles have been mostly solid in the bullpen this season, placing 11th in team ERA entering play on Monday. Craig Kimbrel has proven to be a rock-solid addition at the back end, converting 13 of 16 saves with a 0.95 WHIP and 31 strikeouts through 21.0 innings. Their set-up men have been equaling as impressive, with Yennier Cano (2.81 ERA, 1.36 WHIP) and lefthander Danny Coloumbe (2.74 ERA, 0.70 WHIP) both appearing on the top ten list for most holds in the Major Leagues.
The rest of their relievers have been solid, as they don’t have anyone who has really been hit hard in many outings this year. The aforementioned Suarez has been particularly effective as a reliever (0.90 ERA, 0.70 WHIP), so it remains to be seen if the Orioles will choose to keep him in the bullpen or elevate him into the rotation.

Hitting

Baltimore ranks 4th in the Major Leagues in team OPS, while also trailing just the Yankees in total home runs. The biggest story of the season for the team has undoubtedly been the emergence of MVP candidate Gunnar Henderson in his second big league season. He’s currently 2nd in the Major Leagues in home runs, trailing Aaron Judge, and has almost twice as many as his next-highest teammate. This team is so solid top to bottom that they would still be productive without these kinds of numbers from Henderson, but he has brought the offense to another level this year.
Perhaps the biggest surprise has been infielder Jordan Westburg, whose .865 OPS ranks 2nd on the team, and has filled in at 2nd and 3rd base this year. A former top prospect who may have been lost in the shuffle of a loaded farm system, Westburg has been a consistent middle-of-the-order bat for the team since Opening Day. Adley Rutschman (.815 OPS), Ryan Mountcastle (.826 OPS), Ryan O’Hearn (.781 OPS), and Colton Cowser (.763 OPS) have helped round out this order with quality production.
In a move made this morning, Jorge Mateo went on the injured list after entering into the concussion protocol in last night’s game. The team decided to call up another of their top prospects in Connor Norby, who will appear to slot in at 2nd base for the near future. Norby is a bit reminiscent of Westburg, with solid overall numbers overshadowed by some of the flashier prospects in the system. He will try to fair better than MLB.com number one overall prospect Jackson Holliday in his first audition at 2nd base. Since one of the weak spots in the lineup has been Ramon Urias this season, there’s a chance that Norby could stick if he plays well.

Final Word

The Orioles are quite simply one of the best teams in the league and will give the Blue Jays all they can handle this week. Nothing will come easy, as they have three of their top four starting pitchers set to battle the pedestrian Toronto lineup. Winning this series could do a lot for the team’s confidence moving forward, but a 2-2 series split may be a more realistic goal.

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