After getting battered and bruised in Milwaukee over the last three days, the Orioles will look to hit the erase button and try to pick up some much-needed momentum over the next four days in Minneapolis before the All-Star Break.
The toughest thing to swallow is the fact that the Orioles looked to be on the mend at the end of June, only to see their hard work undone in a matter of three soul-crushing days.
As a result, the Orioles (40-44) will head into the Twin Cities at a season-high four games below .500, a season-high 8.5-games off the pace of the first-place Red Sox, and a season-high four games out of the wild card picture. To say it’s time to take a look good, hard look in the mirror would be an understatement.
After dropping four of their first five games in the month of July, the Orioles have now gone 13-20 since the start of June and a dismal 18-34 since May 9th. Their struggles away from Camden Yards have been glaring with a 15-28 record on the road this season, and they’ve gone just 8-22 while on tour since the beginning of May. To make matters worse, the O’s can’t seem to hang with the big dogs this season and have notched a 20-31 clip against teams over .500 during the 2017 campaign.
Just when you thought things were starting to look up again…
The Twins (43-41) are set to host the Orioles currently placed third in the AL Central and just 1.5-games off the pace of the division-leading Cleveland Indians. They’re just a game behind the Royals for the second wild card spot. However, their struggles have occurred right in front of their own fans at Target Field as they own a dreadful 18-26 record at home. To add to their misery in Minneapolis, they have notched just a 6-12 mark at home since May 28th. Something tells me Under Armour won’t be calling them for a sponsorship deal.
The Orioles and Twins have been exchanging vendettas over recent years. After the Twins swept the Orioles during the 2015 season series by a score of 7-0, the O’s responded by going 5-1 versus their upcoming hosts during the 2016 season. The Twins executed their revenge by sweeping the Orioles during the first meeting between the two clubs at Camden Yards back in May.
How will the narrative play out during this Mid-Summer clash in the Twin Cities? For the Orioles sake, hopefully not another sweep. They can’t afford it with the division slipping out of sight. Alas, only time will tell. Let’s go to the starters:
Dylan Bundy (8-7, 4.02 ERA) will take the mound versus Jose Berrios (7-2, 3.44 ERA) in tonight’s series opener.
After giving up five runs on seven hits over just four innings during his last outing versus the Rays, Bundy will be looking to get his season back on track versus the Twins. He’s posted an 8.22 ERA over his last three starts, which has seen his ERA rise from a stout 3.05 to 4.02. Over his last six starts, he’s gone 2-4 with a 6.61 ERA. Before that stretch, he had posted a 6-3 record and a stellar 2.89 ERA. Will we see the return of ”Dealin’ Bundy” sooner rather than later?
Berrios is coming off his worst start of the season after allowing five runs on nine hits over five innings against the Royals. Still, the Twins 23-year-old phenom is having an impressive first full season in the bigs. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in six of his ten starts on the year, while he’s gone six-plus innings in eight of his ten starts. In four starts at Target Field, “La Maquina” has recorded a 3-1 record along with a 2.51 ERA.
Kevin Gausman (5-7, 5.61 ERA) will get the nod versus Hector Santiago (4-8, 5.63 ERA) on Friday.
Gausman has been on fire as of late. After dominating the Rays to the tune of just two hits over seven shutout innings, Gausman has now conceded just six hits over 12 1/3 consecutive shutout innings while racking up thirteen strikeouts. He also owns a stellar 1.50 ERA over his last three starts and eighteen innings of work. However, Gausman has gone 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA over four career starts versus the Twins, the most times he’s faced a single club without notching a win.
After allowing four runs on four hits over just 3 1/3 innings against the Royals, Santiago remains in a rut. He’s posted an 0-3 record with a 12.38 ERA over his last three outings. The good news for the southpaw is the fact that he’s never lost to the Orioles, going 1-0 with a 3.80 ERA over seven career games (four starts). He owns a 3-3 record and a 4.54 ERA over seven starts at Target Field this season.
The Orioles are listing the starter for Saturday’s match-up against Adalberto Mejia (4-3, 4.32 ERA) as TBD. Wade Miley (3-7, 5.20 ERA) is the projected starter, but the Orioles may choose to keep the struggling southpaw on the shelf until after the All-Star Break.
After getting burned with seven runs on seven hits over just 1 2/3 innings versus the Brewers in his last start, Miley has gone just 1-4 with a 11.69 ERA over his last six outings. Over his last eight starts, he has posted a 2-5 record along with an 8.91 ERA. He allowed five runs over four innings against the Twins in his only career start against them last season with the Mariners.
Mejia has been turning up the heat lately, and after holding the Angels to just three runs over seven solid innings in a winning effort, he’s gone 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA over his last three outings. However, the Dominican southpaw has struggled at home this season and owns a 2-2 record along with a 5.66 ERA over seven starts at Target Field.
Ubaldo Jimenez (3-4, 6.64 ERA) is slated to take on Kyle Gibson (5-6, 5.82 ERA) in the series and first-half finale on Sunday.
Although Jimenez was magnificent during his eight-inning shutout of the Blue Jays, he crashed back down to earth by allowing five runs on six hits along with three homers over just five innings during his last outing in Milwaukee. Since returning to the rotation, Jimenez has gone 2-2 with a 6.45 ERA over four starts. Two of them have been gems, and two of them have been disasters…In other words, it’s been a vintage run of form for the Orioles sporadic veteran.
Gibson held the Angels in check by allowing just two runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings during his last start, and has gone 1-1 with a solid 3.18 ERA over his last three contests. However, like Santiago, Gibson’s woes this season have occurred right at home. In eight starts at Target Field this season, the former first round pick has gone 2-4 with a 6.37 ERA.
That’s it for now, Orioles fans! Hopefully, we’ll see the O’s right the ship before they hit the break…
Enjoy the series!
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