The Orioles come to town riding an eight-game losing streak and are just 3-14 in the month of June, solidifying their standing as the worst team (by record, anyway) in the Major Leagues. The Birds have three decent hitters in their lineup—catcher Pedro Severino, outfielder Trey Mancini, and utilityman Hanser Alberto—and one well-performing starting pitcher in rookie John Means. Otherwise, the club is something of a dumpster fire, hampered by hefty contracts for injured (and underwhelming) DH Mark Trumbo and abysmally performing first baseman Chris Davis. Rookie manager Brandon Hyde simply doesn't have a lot to work with in Baltimore, with a pitching staff dead last in the bigs in ERA, a relief corps last in batting average against and OBP, and an offense second-to-last in the league in runs scored.
Beating this team should be the proverbial walk in the park, but given the Mariners' season thus far this series could go in any number of directions. Seattle will go with pitchers Wade LeBlanc, Mike Leake, Tommy Milone, and Yusei Kikuchi in the four games, though in at least one contest manager Scott Servais will use the indefensible "opener" gambit, giving Baltimore a leg up for no reason. The Orioles will counter with Dylan Bundy, Means, Andrew Cashner, and Gabriel Ynoa. Bundy last faced the M's in 2017, when he pitched a brilliant one-hit, 12-K shutout; this season, he's 3-8 with a good-for-Baltimore 4.44 ERA. Means is having an excellent rookie campaign—the 26-year-old southpaw's 2.67 ERA would be fifth in the AL if he weren't a few innings short of the qualifying threshold. Cashner has seen the M's plenty in his career—2-5, 4.22 ERA, 1.425 WHIP in 11 appearances vs. Seattle—and is one of just two Oriole pitchers with a winning record, along with Means. Ynoa is in his first full year in the bigs and only recently moved into the starting rotation; he is 0-3 as a starter, averaging under six innings per start.
UPDATE: Means hit the injured list prior to Thursday night's game, so that start will in effect be a bullpen game for the Orioles.
Orioles vs. Tommy Milone (CAREER)
Orioles vs. Yusei Kikuchi (CAREER)
|vs. AL West||4-12|
Who’s Hot & Not
Last 10 games
.368/.400/.395, 1 XBH, 3 RBI
.314/.400/.657, 5 XBH, 4 RBI
.143/.250/.179, 1 XBH, 1 RBI, 11 K
.231/.295/.385, 4 XBH, 3 RBI, 14 K
.143/.143/.250, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 12 K
.211/.268/.342, 3 XBH, 4 RBI, 9 K
Last 3 series vs. Seattle
|9/5/18||SEA 5, BAL 2|
|9/4/18||BAL 5, SEA 3|
|9/3/18||SEA 2, BAL 1|
|6/28/18||SEA 4, BAL 2|
|6/27/18||SEA 8, BAL 7|
|6/26/18||SEA 3, BAL 2|
|6/25/18||SEA 5, BAL 3|
|8/30/17||BAL 8, SEA 7|
|8/29/17||BAL 4, SEA 0|
|8/28/17||BAL 7, SEA 6|
Brandon Hyde: Replacing longtime Oriole skipper Buck Showalter, Hyde has been a coach for several big-league teams, primarily the Miami Marlins. His only previous managerial experience in the Majors was as Miami's interim manager for one game after Edwin Rodríguez resigned in 2011. He does have minor-league experience as a manager, serving in the role at three levels in the Marlins' farm system over five seasons.
It's the ultimate low-pressure situation for a rookie manager in Baltimore—the Orioles are widely acknowledged as many years away from contention, perhaps even a few years away from a true rebuilding operation given the paucity of their farm system and lousy roster. Hyde's job at this point is merely to get along with and mentor his young players while riding out the untradeable contracts of his veterans. "He's in a difficult circumstance with a young team, a lot of players coming in from all different directions, guys coming and going, guys who weren't really with us in spring training," said Baltimore GM Mike Elias. "He's done a great job. I'm really happy he's here."
Hyde has tried a lot of things to get wins from his hapless squad, including using over 60 different lineups. The first game of the season to use the same lineup as a previous game was this month, on June 9th. “I think someday, some point, we’ll have more of a set lineup," Hyde said. "Looking forward to that day, but right now, where we are, you’re gonna see a lot of different lineups.”
Shawn Armstrong: A Mariner just last April, Armstrong was DFA'd by the M's and claimed on waivers by the Orioles about the same time the Mariners traded a low-level minor leaguer to Baltimore for Mike Wright, making a non-trade near-real-time exchange of ineffective relievers. Armstrong has done a decent job for the Orioles, putting up numbers the Mariners would love to have in their bullpen: 3.32 ERA, 9 BB, 23 Ks in 19 innings. (Wright was designated for assignment by the M's after only a few weeks.)
|Baltimore Orioles||(1954 - present)|
|World Champions:||1966, 1970, 1983|
|League Champions:||1944, 1969, 1971, 1979|
|Division Titles:||1973, 1974, 1997, 2014|