The Orioles are slated off to finish their first home stand of the season with a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
This will be a very fun series in my opinion, as both teams are loaded with young talent who have a chance to shine against each other. With names like Ryan Mountcastle, John Means, and Ryan McKenna for the O’s against youngsters for Seattle like Taylor Trammell, Kyle Lewis, and Evan White, this series is one we could see as more of a rivalry in a few years.
For the Orioles, they are fresh out of a three-game sweep by the bats of the Boston Red Sox. The Birds simply looked bad in that series and have a lot to improve on in this set against the Mariners.
Dean Kremer will be on the mound in game one for the Orioles, followed by John Means, Matt Harvey, and Bruce Zimmermann for games two through four.
Like I said earlier, the Orioles have a lot to improve on for this series. Let’s check out some of these things in The Baltimore Battery’s Keys to the Series!
1. John Means and Bruce Zimmermann cannot do it all.
The first two series of this season have shown that John Means looks like 2019 John Means, while rookie Bruce Zimmermann has backed up his solid spring. Beyond that, the rotation has not been very good. Between Means’ and Zimmerman’s collective four starts, they hold a 2.55 ERA in 24.2 innings pitched, with a collective 18 strikeouts, and the Orioles are 3-1 in those games. The rest of the rotation together holds a 10.31 ERA in five games and 18.1 innings pitched, with the longest outing being five innings by Matt Harvey in his second start. That is not much help from the rest of the rotation.
Against a younger and less powerful lineup as compared to the Yankees or Red Sox, Dean Kremer and the rest of the rotation have a good chance to redeem themselves from a pretty bad start. Unlike in the first starts for these three pitchers, they must get ahead in counts and throw first pitch strikes. The Orioles bullpen is not too solid, and having them enter games in the fifth inning for consecutive days will not bring much success, like we saw in the home opener series. These three pitchers must keep their pitch counts down, as we saw all three entering the realm of 60 pitches just within four to five innings max. Much improvement is needed there.
2. When runners are on base, bring them home!
One of the most important stats in baseball is a team’s average with runners in scoring position. So far this year, the Orioles are at the bottom of that pack. In nine games so far, the Orioles have left 64 men on base and are 18-for-80 with RISP, which comes out to a .225 average. Numbers like that will not win you very many games. With 64 men left on base, not one of those first nine games were completely out of reach. Scoring these runners is imperative, especially when the pitching staff is going to give up runs to really any team.
3. The hitting has to start sometime, right?
So far this year, Cedric Mullins has been one of the best hitters in the A.L. He is tied for the American League lead in hits at 17, is fourth in average at .459, and is seventh in OPS at 1.188. After Mullins, the next best stats in those categories for the Orioles are Maikel Franco with eight hits, Pedro Severino with a .269 average, and Severino again with a .744 OPS. That is NOT good.
Without Mullins, the Orioles very well could be 1-8. In order to produce some real offense, the rest of the lineup must contribute in ways that Mullins currently is. Against a mediocre pitching staff, the offense really should have a good chance of improving some of these numbers. DJ Stewart will be back in the lineup, which will certainly help the team’s walk rate. Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander both seem poised to get hot, as both had a decent series against the Red Sox.
What are your thoughts and predictions for the series against the Mariners? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on the web and on Facebook and Twitter!
Let’s go O’s!