The Baltimore Orioles have defied the expectations of most the baseball world. A team that was supposed to be a “cellar dweller” for the season has turned out to be one of, if not the biggest, surprise in baseball.
Baltimore has reached 56 wins, the most since the 2016 season. They currently are 21-7 over their last 28 games, which is their best stretch in 24 years, and have put themselves right in the thick of a Wild Card race, currently two games out from the final spot.
The next stretch of baseball could prove pivotal for the season, as the Orioles will play 22 of their next 23 games against playoff contenders.
One of the biggest foes they will play will be the Toronto Blue Jays, who, starting tonight, will face off against the Orioles 15 more times before the end of the season.
Baltimore split a four-game series in mid-June that sparked one of the biggest turn arounds of the year. With the Orioles four games behind the Blue Jays, this series, as well as the ones to follow, will be a major player in the Wild Card race.
Toronto will send Yusei Kikuchi, Alek Manoah and José Berríos to match-up against the Orioles. Baltimore will counter with Jordan Lyles, Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer to take on the Jays’ vaunted lineup.
Going into the series, The Baltimore Battery ❌-FACTOR is going to be getting to the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen.
Toronto has had to patch together their bullpen for most the season. With Julian Merryweather, Andrew Vasquez, Taylor Saucedo, Nate Pearson and the recently injured Tim Mayza all on the IL, the Jays’ bullpen has been patch-worked all season.
With many of those players expected to return down the stretch, this is a prime opportunity to take advantage of a bullpen that is ranked 11th in the AL.
If Baltimore can attack the Jays starters and get to their bullpen early and often, this could turn into a long series for Toronto and one the Orioles can use to propel their postseason asperations.
The O’s made a few roster moves prior to the series.
Firstly, Beau Sulser has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after his long relief outing yesterday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. To take his place on the roster, the O’s have recalled right-hander Louis Head from Norfolk.
The 32-year-old Head was claimed off waivers earlier this season. His first appearance will be his Orioles debut, and he will wear No. 60.
Also, it was reported earlier today that infielder Rylan Bannon has been claimed off outright waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team he was traded over from back in 2018.
Baltimore now has a 40-man roster spot open.
GAME 1 STARTING LINEUP:
First pitch is scheduled for tonight at 7:05 p.m. EST. You can catch each game on MASN or on your local Orioles Radio Network station.
How do you see this big series playing out? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
Like Stephen’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @SrHeckman