Following a series loss at home to the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles travel to Citi Field to take on the New York Mets in a short two-game series. Luckily for the O’s, Mets ace and the best pitcher in baseball, Jacob deGrom, is not set to pitch. Phew!
To start this series, we will see a John Means vs. Marcus Stroman matchup, which should be electric. And yes, Oriole fans, the same Marcus Stroman who bullied us for years with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Being an interleague series played in the National League, it will be interesting to see how Brandon Hyde handles his lineup. With Trey Mancini and Ryan Mountcastle both getting extremely hot, it’s a sticky situation. You cannot play both at first base due to losing the DH for these two games. Do you test Mountcastle in the outfield again to have his bat in the lineup? In their last interleague series in April, Hyde sat Mountcastle in game one against the Marlins and then gave him the start in left field in game two.
The Orioles have an impressive 11-6 record on the road, while wining four of six road series. In this two-game set, the Orioles have a good chance to improve those numbers. Here is how they can do it!
1. Ride the Means express
This season, the Orioles are 5-2 when John Means starts. Both losses came from a lack of run support and ended up being losses of one run. In this series, if that run support can be present, there is little doubt that the Orioles can’t handle this Mets lineup. Going into game two after a John Means victory will help Matt Harvey, who has benefited from the momentum created by the Orioles ace. Not to mention, Harvey is making his homecoming game to a stadium that ridiculed him and said he was finished. We shall see.
2. Give the starters some runs early
The Mets’ downfall this season has been supporting pitchers of their own. If the Orioles can pounce on Marcus Stroman and Tijuan Walker early, that Mets’ lineup will have a tough time bouncing back. These early runs will certainly help Means and Harvey, making it even tougher for the Mets’ lineup to score. Stroman hasn’t pitched his best in his last three starts, and the Oriole offense must take advantage of that.
3. Keep smashing
The heart of the Orioles’ lineup has been red hot lately. Trey Mancini is hitting .286 with two home runs and eight RBI in his last seven games. Ryan Mountcastle, in that same amount of time, is hitting .296 with two home runs of his own. Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays have continued to find holes everywhere in the field. To beat the Mets, these four must continue to contribute. If Hyde can manage to keep Mountcastle and Mancini in the lineup at the same time, that will do a good job supplementing that sure fire out from the pitcher’s spot at the bottom of the lineup. Not to mention, Citi Field is a nice home run ball park, which the Orioles have been hitting a good amount of lately.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups for game one:
New York Mets (16-13):
1. Jeff McNeil 2B
2. Francisco Lindor SS
3. Michael Conforto RF
4. Pete Alonso 1B
5. Kevin Pillar LF
6. Jonathan Villar 3B
7. James McCann C
8. Albert Almora Jr.
9. Marcus Stroman RHP
Baltimore Orioles (16-19):
1. Cedric Mullins CF
2. Austin Hays LF
3. Trey Mancini 1B
4. Ryan Mountcastle LF
5. Freddy Galvis SS
6. Maikel Franco 3B
7. Rio Ruiz 2B
8. Pedro Severino C
9. John Means LHP
Tonight’s game is available on MASN2 and on the flagship station of the O’s, 105.7 The Fan. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. EST.
What are your thoughts on this interleague series? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to give The Baltimore Battery a follow on the web and on Facebook and Twitter!