The red hot and under-appreciated Baltimore Orioles come home to start a three-game and some change series against the neighboring Washington Nationals.
Friday’s game will be an odd one, as the Orioles finish out the 5-2 suspended game that was put on hold last Sunday due to tarp failure at Nationals Park.
Brandon Hyde said a bullpen arm will start this game in the sixth inning, but has not said which arm it will be. If the Orioles can finish the suspended game with a win, that will complete a series sweep from last weekend and would be their third sweep on this young season!
Following the completion of the suspended game, Tommy Milone will take the mound opposite of the reigning World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg in game one of this series.
Asher Wojciechoski will face Patrick Corbin on the mound in game two, followed by a start by Max Scherzer for the Nationals in game three. The Oriole starter for game three has yet to be announced.
About a third of the way into the unprecedented 2020 season, the 10-7 Orioles head into maybe their biggest series yet. Will the offense be able to sustain its production against a good team a second time? Will we finally see Keegan Akin make his major league debut for the Orioles?
Many question surround the Orioles heading into this series, but none bigger than the question of Keegan Akin. I think this series will mark the youngsters debut, especially with a four-inning game being finished that will deplete some bullpen arms.
In order for the Orioles to continue their ripple of surprises this season and come out with a series victory, the O’s have three keys to victory.
1. Starters must go deep and save bullpen arms!
Following a three-game series in Philadelphia, where the bullpen was worked quite a bit, it would be beneficial to rest some of the arms if Tommy Milone and Asher Wojciechowski are able to go at least five innings in each of their starts.
2. Get those runners in scoring position home!
Coming into this series, it’s obvious runs against guys like Strasburg and Scherzer are hard to come by. Therefore, scoring runs when you have the opportunity is crucial.
The Orioles are currently 17th in the MLB with runners in scoring position. This has been helped by the sheer number of base runners in scoring position the Orioles have had, but against pitching like the Nationals have, every single run matters.
3. Get out of innings whenever possible!
This is a key for both pitchers and the defense; limiting long innings. The Orioles have struggled getting outs on batters with two strikes, and in order to keep up with the Nationals pitching, those outs must be earned. Behind the pitcher, it is imperative the defense plays soundly, limiting errors and not giving away any outs and/or un-earned runs.
Overall, the Orioles have a great chance for another series win, as they come into this series red hot. The offense has been reminiscent of a scary second half team, as they say in the NFL, and have done a great job putting pressure on teams’ bullpens. That pressure will make or break for the Orioles in this series, who face some incredible starting pitching.
The Orioles will start the suspended game in the top of sixth inning with one out and two runners on. Game one of this series will start 45 minutes following the conclusion of the suspended game. You can catch both games on MASN starting at 5:05 p.m. EST.
Let’s Go O’s!