Before the season started, many pundits had the Los Angeles Angels as one of the top teams in the league. After all, they had reigning MVP and ttw-way star Shohei Ohtani and arguably the best player in the game, Mike Trout.
On the other side, the Baltimore Orioles were projected to be one of the worst teams in the league while in the midst of rebuilding. The excitement for them would be when would rookie phenom Adley Rutschman made his debut.
We’re officially halfway through the season, and these two teams are set to face off going in opposite directions.
The Orioles, coming off their first sweep of the year and riding a four-game win streak, find themselves five games under .500 and 12 games better than last season, ironically facing the Angels at the same point.
For the Angels, they find themselves a game behind the Orioles in the Wild Card standings and losers of six of their last 10 games. To say the least, these teams are traveling in opposite directions.
Headed into the series, Ryan Mountcastle has turned it into a higher gear. Though he missed the last two games with a sinus infection, Mountcastle has quietly been a one-man wrecking crew as of late.
For the month of June, Mountcastle hit .297 with an OBP of .345. Of his 30 hits for the month, 18 of them went for extra bases, including seven home runs. On top of that, he contributed 19 RBIs for the month.
For the season, Mountcastle is batting .276 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs. He is slugging .495 and has 18 doubles on the campaign.
Although outside of Baltimore he isn’t getting the recognition he deserves, he has been a steady presence in the lineup and one of the reasons the Orioles are playing such strong baseball headed into the Angels series.
The Angels will send out Chase Silseth, Michael Loronzen, Patrick Sandoval and José Suarez to face the Orioles in the series.
For the Birds, they will send Jordan Lyles, Tyler Wells, Dean Kremer and Austin Voth to counter the Angels lineup in what will be the final home series before the All-Star Break.
Headed into the Angels series, the Orioles will need to have the lower portion of the lineup come up big.
For majority of the season, a lot of the Orioles’ offensive production has taken place in the top portion of the lineup.
Players from Tyler Nevin, Jorge Mateo, Jonathan Araúz, Ryan McKenna, Robinson Chirinos and even Rougned Odor have come up a bit short. They all have had their moments here and there, but the Orioles will need for them to take a step forward to be a difference maker in the series.
If the lower part of the lineup steps up offensively, they can be the determining factor that gives the edge in the series and shift it towards another series victory.
Game 1 Starting Lineup:
First pitch is tonight at 7:05 p.m. EST at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Be sure to tune in and cheer our Birds to victory either on MASN or on your local Orioles Radio Network station.
How do you see this series playing out? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter! And make sure to use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!
Like Stephen’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @SrHeckman