Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles
Dates: Monday, August 28, 2017 – Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Location: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
A six run first inning for the New York Yankees cursed the Mariners on Sunday as they fell in that series’ finale 10-1. What makes that loss even worse is the five errors Seattle committed in the first frame, including three by Jean Segura.
Seattle is not a team that can afford defensive errors. After squeezing out a 2-1 win in 11-inningsw on Friday, the Mariners have now lost back-to-back games. Even with those losses, this team is 7-4 in their last 11 and 5-4 in their current road trip. For Seattle, the main question is about the pitching, the offense is stacked. With the addition of Yonder Alonso at first, the entire lineup has an OPS+ of at least 100 save for center-field.
Of course, pitching is an issue for the Orioles, too. The Birds do have the bullpen figured out, but the starting staff is the worst in the AL. Despite that, the Orioles just took three straight from a first-place Boston team and have won four in a row to get back to .500. Like the Mariners, this is a potent offense and its propped up by a knock out bullpen. Between Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Mychal Givens and even Richard Bleier, there are enough names to shut the door with a lead. The problem, however, is avoiding the big inning early.
Game 1 Probable Pitchers – Monday, August 28, 2017, 7:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Marco Gonzales ( Mariners ) vs. Chris Tillman ( Orioles )
Marco Gonzales is the latest pitcher getting a chance due to the plethora of injuries to the Mariners’ rotation. Acquired from St. Louis midseason, Gonzales has been quite hittable in his four starts for Seattle. He’s allowed a homer in each start after giving up three in his lone start for the Cardinals earlier this year. His issues with the longball is great news for the Orioles. Baltimore’s offense isn’t a great on-base machine, but they can hit the ball far. Oriole Park is particularly generous for hitters, too. The O’s already have six hitters with at least 20 bombs and Tim Beckham is only a couple shy.
A brief demotion to the bullpen doesn’t seem to have helped Tillman, but he’ll get another start on Monday regardless. The right-hander is solid No.2 type starter when healthy, but something seems off. He’s been downright horrible this year. He’s 1-7 with a 7.75 ERA and his 5.1 innings and four runs against the Angels last time out doesn’t provide much hope. He did throw a scoreless frame against the Mariners a in loss a couple weeks ago, but he gave up a pair of hits in the process and didn’t look particularly sharp. The O’s need him to pitch well, but he’s just not shown the ability to do so.
Game 2 Probable Pitchers – Tuesday, August 29, 2017, 7:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Erasmo Ramirez ( Mariners ) vs. Dylan Bundy ( Orioles )
Unlike Gonzales, Ramirez has pitched well since coming over in a trade and getting stretched out. He’s pitched to a 3.76 ERA in five starts with Seattle, but he has struggled some against lefty hitters this year. Right-handers are only hitting .231 against him with a .258 OBP and .628 OPS. Lefties, are hitting .272 with a .844 OPS. Ramirez has allowed 15 homers this year and lefties have hit nine. Most of the Orioles’ line up swings from the right-side, but Chris Davis is 6-for-19 with two homers against Ramirez in his career.
On a team that’s struggled in the rotation all year, Bundy has been the lone bright spot and most consistent arm for Baltimore. The righty is 12-8 with a 4.18 ERA and 1.210 WHIP in 24 starts. He’s already extended nearly 40 innings beyond the career high workload from last season so fatigue is certainly a concern. He’s also making this start coming off the bereavement list so his preparation is also uncertain. Despite all of that, Bundy has delivered four straight quality starts, bouncing back admirably from a rough stretch in July. Over those last four starts, Bundy is 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA and 0.963 WHIP. He’s walked just four batters in 27 innings while striking out 33. Those walk and strike out numbers are particularly interesting given a mediocre 2.91 strikeout to walk ratio on the year. Those numbers are trending in the right direction and indicate that fatigue really isn’t an issue now.
Game 3 Probable Pitchers – Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 3:05 p.m. ET ( Local TV )
Ariel Miranda ( Mariners ) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez ( Orioles )
Miranda isn’t the best pitcher in the league, but the Orioles surely wish they had him back. The southpaw was flipped to Seattle for Wade Miley and has proven to be at least a serviceable big league starter. His numbers have been better than Miley’s since the deal. Fortunately for the Orioles, however, they catch him during some major struggles. He did throw 4.2 scoreless frames against the Yankees his last time out, but is still pitching to a 6.32 ERA over his last nine outings. This will be Miranda’s first time facing the organization that signed him out of Cuba. We’ll see if there’s some extra motivation he can harness for this start.
Jimenez struggled in his last start against the Mariners, allowing six runs as part of a string of three straight terrible outings. He’s pitching to an 8.59 ERA in that time. Sadly, those numbers are about par for the course for the veteran right-hander who has been the model of inconsistency in his four-years with the Birds. We’ve seen flashes from time-to-time for the righty, but the overall struggles have been well documented. When he’s thrown the ball well, he can be tough to hit, but he is not throwing the ball well right now.