After a short six game homestand, the Mariners are once again headed back to the East Coast to face the Baltimore Orioles, and get a peak at the new Camden Yards dimensions. The results of the homestand being backwards as they are — dropping two to the A’s and taking two from the Astros — who knows what to expect from this series? We do! That’s the point of these previews, after all.
At a Glance
|Game 1||Tuesday, May 31 | 4:05 pm|
|RHP George Kirby||RHP Bryan Baker|
|Game 2||Wednesday, June 1 | 4:05 pm|
|LHP Robbie Ray||RHP Kyle Bradish|
|Game 3||Thursday, June 2 | 4:05 pm|
|RHP Chris Flexen||RHP Jordan Lyles|
|Batting (wRC+)||92 (12th in AL)||111 (3rd in AL)||Mariners|
|Fielding (OAA)||-5 (13th)||3 (6th)||Mariners|
|Starting Pitching (FIP-)||116 (13th)||118 (14th)||Orioles|
|Bullpen (FIP-)||89 (4th)||105 (9th)||Orioles|
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that the Baltimore Orioles are not very good at baseball. The Orioles, much like I-35 as it cuts through Austin, seem to be perpetually rebuilding. They are having an expectedly slow start to the season, and currently sit dead last in the AL East. I am aware of aphorisms regarding glass houses and the throwing of stones, however, so I won’t judge them too hard for their record.
While their hitting and starting pitching has been bad, Baltimore’s bullpen has been great, and has been striking out batters while also limiting home runs. After last weekend’s heavy dose of Mariner home runs, maybe the M’s will be able to turn the Orioles’ bullpen’s fortune around.
Like the Mariners a year or two ago, the Orioles are poised to start graduating some of their top prospects. Notably, last week they called up MLB Pipeline’s top prospect for 2022, Adley Rutschman. Rutschman hasn’t exploded onto the scene, posting a 75 wRC+ in his first nine games, but the folks at Pipeline put him above Julio and Bobby Witt Jr., not to mention he dominated college ball, so he could break out at any moment. The rest of the Baltimore lineup has, predictably, underwhelmed this season, posting MLB’s fifth worst wRC+ of 88. They also have a pretty terrible ISO of .122 although they can blame that partially on the new wall in left field, which is now miles away from home plate.
Great Wall of Camden update:— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) May 23, 2022
15 non-HR so far that likely would have gone out before. About as expected
9 hit by the Orioles.
6 allowed by the Orioles.
That split is what's unexpected. For the last few years, they were *allowing* way more of these kinds of batted balls. pic.twitter.com/02LUoex0ik
RHP Bryan Baker
The Orioles have listed Bryan Baker as their starting pitcher for today’s game, though he’ll likely just serve as an extended opener. In his one previous start this year, he lasted 2.1 innings against the Cardinals, working through their lineup once. All of his other 17 appearances have come as a reliever. After playing five games in the last four days, their pitching staff is stretched pretty thin. Once Baker has taken his turn through the Mariners’ order, Baltimore might turn to Keegan Akin for another turn through the order and then turn it over to the rest of their bullpen to finish off the game.
RHP Kyle Bradish
Kyle Bradish was the seventh ranked prospect in a loaded Orioles system. He made his major league debut in late April but has struggled to really establish himself in the big leagues across six starts. Acquired in the big Dylan Bundy trade back in 2019, he’s quickly moved through Baltimore’s organization. He possesses an arrow straight fastball that he leans on more than half the time. It’s been knocked around by big league batters and he really needs pinpoint location for it to be truly effective. His best pitch is a sweeping slider that possesses elite movement in both dimensions and has induced a whiff over 40% of the time batters swing at it. That pitch alone gives him a good foundation to build off of, but he’ll need to figure out how to improve his heater before he can really find success in the majors.
RHP Jordan Lyles
After struggling in Texas over the last two years, Jordan Lyles signed a one-year deal with the Orioles this offseason. Some significant changes to his pitch mix have helped him regain the success he enjoyed back in 2018-’19 with the Brewers, Padres, and Pirates. The biggest difference is the number of four-seam fastballs he’s throwing, from around 40% with the Rangers to just over a quarter of the time this year. Instead, he’s increased the usage of his sinker and changeup while continuing to throw his decent slider around a quarter of the time. Reducing his usage of his four-seamer has led to a big jump in groundball rate along with a corresponding drop in home run rate.
The Big Picture:
The AL West
|Team||W-L||W%||Games Behind||Recent Form|
|Team||W-L||W%||Games Behind||Recent Form|
We all knew it was coming at some point. After their strong start to the season, the Angels have really slipped as the month comes to a close. They were just swept by the Blue Jays in four games at home and have now won just five of their last 15 games. They’ll travel to New York to face the best team in the American League this week. On the other hand, the Rangers have quickly ascended in the standings after winning three of four in Oakland over the weekend and starting off a four-game series against the Rays with a win yesterday. They’re just a game under .500 and things are finally starting to look promising in Texas. After losing the weekend series to the Mariners, the Astros got back on track with an easy 5-1 win against the A’s yesterday.