SB Nation Blog
The Opponent in one sentence
The Orioles are arguably the worst team in all of baseball and they are only getting worse after dealing Manny Machado with Zach Britton potentially not making it through this series.
Red Sox 9, Orioles 1
The Orioles really haven’t had many portions of this season in which they’ve been trending in the right direction, and this is no exception. Baltimore was just swept in their first three-game series out of the All-Star break, and while they won two in a row before the break they also lost four consecutive games before that.
7/23: Rick Porcello vs. Kevin Gausman, 7:05 PM ET
This is something of a big start for Porcello, who had been trending in the wrong direction heading into the All-Star break. Now, he had some extended time off and has a bad team to face in his first game back. This is an opportunity to get on a roll. To be fair to the righty, he hasn’t really been bad for most of his outings as much as inconsistent, though his last start against the Blue Jays was straight-up horrendous. He allowed eight runs in only two innings of work. Porcello has somehow only gotten one start against the Orioles this year and in it he allowed three runs over six innings with nine strikeouts and three walks.
Gausman has recently found himself in trade rumors as well, though it’s not clear how much traction those actually have. There’s a ton of talent in this arm, but the 27-year-old righty hasn’t really come into his own just yet. Over 19 starts this season he has a 4.33 ERA and a 4.49 FIP, though his 3.96 DRA is a bit more impressive. His control has been improved this year, but he’s missing fewer bats and still has some home run issues. In their lone matchup against Gausman this year the Red Sox scored six runs over 4 2⁄3 innings. He throws a mid-90s fastball along with a splitter and a slider.
7/24: Drew Pomeranz vs. Yefry Ramirez, 7:05 PM ET
Tuesday is going to be a very interesting day on the mound for the Red Sox with Pomeranz making his first major-league start since May 31. The lefty has been horrible when on the mound this year, with his velocity noticeably down and command being no where to be found. In fact, by DRA only five of the 527 pitchers with at least ten innings have been worse. Yikes. His rehab outings weren’t super encouraging either, and his velocity is still climbing according to Alex Cora. Expectations aren’t super high for this outing, but if you’re going to come back against anyone I suppose Baltimore would be the choice. Pomeranz allowed five runs (four earned) in four innings against the Orioles earlier this year.
Ramirez is a young pitcher who has only a handful of appearances under his belt, though he has done well when given the chance. In just four starts plus one relief appearance, the righty has pitched to a 3.09 ERA, a 3.63 FIP and a 4.58 DRA. His control has been a mild problem, though his 3.5 BB/9 isn’t catastrophic or anything, while he’s striking out over a batter per inning with a home run rate under one per nine innings. The Red Sox should see plenty of Baltimore’s bullpen in this game, as Ramirez has not gone more than five innings in any outing this year. Boston actually saw him in his major-league debut in June, scoring three runs in 4 1⁄3 innings. He throws a low-90s fastball, a slider and a changeup.
7/25: David Price vs. Dylan Bundy, 7:05 PM ET
Price has always been one of the most important players on the Red Sox, and that importance could be magnified in the second half following Eduardo Rodriguez’ injury. The lefty got off to a hell of a start his last time out in Detroit, and he’ll look to follow that up similarly in Baltimore. The lefty needs to mix in his changeup a lot to make this work, and he’ll also need to have his best command. When both of those things are happening, he has been dominant. In his only start against the Orioles this year he tossed a complete game in which he just missed a Maddux, instead settling for two runs with eight strikeouts and no walks.
Bundy is the best pitcher on the Orioles, though things haven’t exactly been smooth sailing for the talented righty this year. It’s been a lot of inconsistency in 2018, as he’s missing plenty of bats and keeping his control in check but also getting into stretches with a ton of hard contact. Overall, he has pitched to a 4.57 ERA, a 4.86 FIP and a 4.42 DRA on the year. He’s been getting worse of late, too, having allowed at least five runs in all three of his July starts. On the other hand, the last time he faced the Red Sox he shut them out over eight impressive innings, so anything can happen. Bundy throws a low-to-mid-90s fastball along with a slider and a smattering of other less-used secondaries.
If you’ve forgotten Danny Valencia’s time with the Red Sox, you can be forgiven. It lasted about five minutes. He was traded to Boston from Minnesota back in 2012, and he only played 10 games with the Sox before moving on for greener pastures after the season.
Notable Position Players
Valencia has found a nice niche for himself as a platoon bat, though he’s been a bit overextended this year. His plate discipline has been solid but his power has been disappointing.
Adam Jones could be traded after a long, successful career in Baltimore, though he’s on the latter portion of his career. He’s as aggressive as ever and still doesn’t strike out, but the power has fallen off since his hey-day.
Jonathan Schoop has turned it on of late since a disappointing start, and the second baseman is now the most likely current piece to be on the next good Orioles team now that Manny Machado has been traded.
Chris Davis is, quite simply, one of the very worst players in baseball at this point. He’s still a threat to run into a homer every now and then, but they’ve been fewer and farther in between and when he doesn’t hit home runs he’s doing...basically nothing.
Tim Beckham has only been a little bit better at the plate than Davis, and that’s because rather than striking out an ungodly number of times he’s just striking out a lot.
Mark Trumbo is the lone Oriole with a wRC+ over 100, which is incredible. His wRC+ stands at 107 thanks to being pretty okay at everything without being bad at anything right now.
Trey Mancini has lost his power in what has been a disappointing sophomore year.
Zach Britton is back to closing for the Orioles, but it won’t be for long. The lefty isn’t completely back to the dominant force he was a couple of years ago, but he’s trending back in that direction and at the very least is back to being damn good. Baltimore is definitely going to trade the impending free agent before the deadline, and there are growing whispers that it could happen soon.
Brad Brach and Mychal Givens are the two setup men in front of Britton and both are good -but-not great with flashes of greatness. Like Britton, both are decent bets to be dealt before the deadline.
Darren O’Day would also be on the trade block, but he’s out for the year with a hamstring injury.
Colby Rasmus walked away from the game early in July, though it wasn’t an official retirement. If you’ll recall, he did exactly this as a member of the Rays last year, too. He’s probably done for good at this point.
Richard Bleier was the best Orioles reliever for a stretch this year, but he tore his lat against the Red Sox and that will cause him to miss the rest of the year.
Craig Gentry should be back as a depth outfielder for the Orioles relatively soon having begun a rehab a couple of weeks ago.
Gabriel Ynoa has been out all year with shoulder inflammation and it’s still not clear whether or not he’ll be able to pitch this year.
Pedro Araujo is a Rule 5 pick who has been out since early June but should be able to make his way back relatively soon.
Steve Wilkerson had barely played in the majors before going down with an oblique strain in early July.
It is not shaping up to be a great week in Baltimore with thunderstorms on the forecast for each game of this series. The Red Sox haven’t had many cancellations this season, but that could change for this series. Accuweather also indicates that flooding could be a problem all week, which doesn’t seem ideal.