We hope you got your coffee brewing, Birdland! This will be a late weekend, as the Orioles travel out to California to take on the Los Angeles Angels. The Birds will get a good look at MLB’s ultimate phenom, Shohei Ohtani, but only from the batter’s box.
The Angels are set to pitch Griffin Canning in game one, an old friend in Alex Cobb for game two, and Patrick Sandoval in game three. For the Orioles, Keegan Akin will be on the bump game one, with Jorge López in game two and Thomas Eshelman in game three.
The Angels come into this series 3-3 in their last six games, while the Orioles are 4-6 in their last six, including the last series sweep against the Astros. The Orioles offense is hitting, which comes at a perfect time, as we set to match up against some subpar starting pitching.
The Angels are no small task, as we saw them handle the Yankees pretty well in their last series. However, the Orioles can do a few things right to secure a series win in Anaheim. Here is how they can do just that!
Keys to the Series 🔑
1. Keep the offense rolling
We have seen time and time again, you can have your two super human hitters in a lineup but not see much success without help around those two players. Lately for the Orioles, help has been coming from all around the lineup, not just Mullins and Mountcastle. Austin Hays needs to stay hot, as he looks to stretch his eight-game hit streak, which includes two home runs and eight RBI. Also look for Ramón Urías, who has provided some much needed production for the bottom of the lineup since being recalled.
If the offense can produce soundly like the last series, the Angels starting staff honestly doesn’t have much of a chance. However, being overly aggressive and not working these pitchers will do the opposite.
2. Turn to the bullpen
The starting rotation for this series doesn’t seem to be the best three man squad we’ve seen this year. What this means is the bullpen must be able to pull the weight. Finally, with a day off before this series, the pen should be well rested and ready to go. Tyler Wells and Adam Plutko may play big parts in this series as long relievers, and the loss of Hunter Harvey, again, will force arms like Dillon Tate and Cole Sulser to step up in that late reliever role. That being said, this is something the bullpen has done very well of over the last week, and look for them to continue the upward trend.
3. Put up runs early and apply pressure
Much like the Orioles, the Angels are known for their starting pitching woes. With the three arms they have slated to start, it’s easy to see why. Both Cobb and Canning have struggled reaching late into ballgames, and the Orioles must take advantage of that. With the lead-off capabilities of Cedric Mullins, along with Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays hotter than fire right behind him, the best bet for the Birds is to put that pressure on as early as possible. That will cause the Angels to fall into their most common flaw, which is going down early and becoming too aggressive themselves.
Also, it takes a lot of pressure off the Oriole starters, especially the young arms who need help like Keegan Akin. Not to mention, it’s nice to have a lead when Shohei Ohtani bats. More than likely, he will smoke a ball at some point, so already being ahead when that happens is imperative.
Roster Moves: The Orioles have placed RHP Hunter Harvey on the 10-day I.L. and recalled LHP Zac Lowther from Triple-A Norfolk.
This series kicks off Friday night at 9:38 p.m. ET. You can catch each game on MASN or on the Orioles’ flagship radio station, 105.7 The Fan!
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