SB Nation Blog
The Opponent in one sentence
The Orioles are almost done with their nightmare, historically awful season which will not be forgotten for years to come.
Red Sox 14, Orioles 2
As has been the case pretty much all year, the Orioles are trending down. Baltimore hasn’t won a series in just about a month, and in the month of September they have won just five of their 20 games. Yikes.
9/24: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Dylan Bundy, 7:10 PM ET
As we discussed earlier this morning, it looks as though Eovaldi is going to work his way into the playoff rotation, and this could be his final start of the regular season before that comes. This is a nice way to get on the right track in October, going up against one of the worst teams in baseball history. The righty is coming off a really impressive outing in New York, but oddly enough he’s largely struggled against non-Yankees opponents since coming to Boston. Look for him to mix up his pitches a bit, stay in the zone and hopefully get some whiffs against a team that isn’t shy about swinging through pitches. In his one matchup against Baltimore this year, back in August, Eovaldi allowed a whopping eight runs (though only half were earned) without making it out of the third inning. Hopefully this one goes better.
Bundy has all of the talent to be a successful pitcher in the majors, and if things break right at his peak he could be a multiple-time All-Star. However, we’re getting the point of his career where potential means less than what he’s actually done, and the righty is yet to put up a consistent year on the mound. Perhaps he needs a change of scenery — it’s certainly worked for other former Orioles pitchers — but it’s more than that. While he has good strikeout stuff and his control isn’t horrible, he makes too many mistakes in the zone. As a result, he’s allowed a whopping 38 homers in in 29 starts, and his last outing against the Blue Jays was his first without a homer since June 23. It’s not just homers, either, as he’s just allowed hard contact in general. All of it has led to a 5.37 ERA with peripherals to match. The righty has pitched to a 4.34 ERA in four outings against Boston this year. Bundy will feature a low-to-mid-90s fastball along with a slider and a changeup.
9/25: David Price vs. TBD, 7:10 PM ET
Price is about to get a long rest after this game, assuming he is the number two starter in the playoff rotation. This will be his final regular season start, and he is looking to end a strong season on a strong note. On paper, his last outing in New York does not look good, as he allowed six runs and three homers. Of course, if you watched, you know it wasn’t quite that bad. To be fair, he did look less sharp than he has for the rest of this second half, but he was hurt badly by a horrible error from Eduardo Núñez, and all three of the homers he allowed just barely made it over New York’s short right-field fence. They all count the same, of course, but it’s worth mentioning. Either way, this is a good opportunity for Price to finish his year on the right foot. This will be Price’s third start against Baltimore this year, and in the first two he combined for 15 innings of work in which he allowed two runs on 18 strikeouts and no (0!) walks.
The Orioles haven’t announced a starter for Tuesday of yet, but as far as I can tell there are two options. Number one is Jimmy Yacabonis, which is an incredible name. The righty has pitched 33 bad innings in the majors this year, and he was merely mediocre in Triple-A before that. The other option is Sean Gilmartin, who has 21 innings in the majors this year in which he has posted a solid ERA and peripherals that indicate it has been entirely fluky. Gilmartin pitches from the left side.
9/26: Chris Sale vs. Yefry Ramiez, 7:10 PM ET
This is also Sale’s final start of the regular season, and it’s also a big one for him as he looks to be totally built up for the postseason. For one thing, it’d be nice to see him get to triple digits on his pitch count, though I’m not sure that’s the plan. More importantly, it would be nice to see him pitch well. If he gives up some fluky runs, it’s fine. This is more about optics. We want to see fastball command first and foremost, with velocity being secondary. I say that because it’s always impossible to tell whether or not Sale is going for full velocity, so it’s easy to overreact. He’s shown off big-time stuff in his return, but the efficiency hasn’t been there. I’ll be confident in him in October no matter what, if we’re being honest, but a strong showing on Wednesday still wouldn’t hurt. In three starts against Baltimore this year, Sale has allowed three runs in 16 innings with 29 strikeouts and six walks.
Ramirez is currently finishing up his first taste of the majors, and it’s been an up-and-down ride for the young righty. He’s worked a bit more out of the bullpen of late, but overall he has tossed about 60 innings in the bigs with an ugly 6.07 ERA. Ramirez does miss some bats, and while his home run rate isn’t great it isn’t devastating either. However, Ramirez does struggle mightily with control, and that has brought down everything else. It’s something pitchers can certainly improve upon as they get older, but for now it’s a major issue for the righty. In three starts against the Red Sox this year, Ramirez has pitched to a 5.02 ERA. He’ll feature a mid-90s fastball along with a changeup and a slider.
Notable Position Players
Adam Jones is the same old aggressive and contact-oriented player as always, and he’s still turning it into a lot of hits. However, in what is likely his final season with the Orioles, the veteran outfielder just hasn’t been the power threat he was in years past.
Jonathan Villar was part of the return in the Jonathan Schoop deal, and he’s been one of the best Orioles since coming to Baltimore. He does strike out some, but he makes up for it with a high BABIP, a solid walk rate and providing value on the bases.
Cedric Mullins made his major-league debut the last time these two teams played, and he’s been good since then. There hasn’t been a standout feature of his game in the early going of his career, but he’s been solid-to-good at just about everything.
Trey Mancini has had a disappointing follow-up to his strong rookie campaign, taking a step back in just about every area.
Renato Nuñez has only been playing for about half the year, but he’s been one of the more solid Orioles thanks to solid power and success on balls in play.
Chris Davis is in a contest with his team as a whole to see who can have a more historically significant down year.
Tim Beckham has struck out a bunch, not drawn a lot of walks and not hit for power. That’s not ideal.
Mychal Givens has the stuff to be a big part of a playoff bullpen some day, but right now his command is just too inconsistent to be trusted all the time. For now, he is the Orioles closer and will likely get a chance to take a step forward in that role next year.
Paul Fry is the top lefty in the Orioles bullpen, and while he walks a few more batters than you’d like he also misses bats and keeps the ball on the ground to prevent real damage.
Miguel Castro has been a workhorse in Baltimore’s bullpen this year, but he’s also striking out 5.9 batters per nine innings and walking 5.2. That’s....not a good ratio.
Mark Trumbo recently underwent knee surgery that will keep him out for the final week of the season, but he should be fine for 2019.
Richard Bleier had a great first half, but he tore his lat towards the end of June and that held him out for the rest of the year.
Colby Rasmus walked away from the game for the second consecutive season, and something tells me he won’t get another chance in 2019.
Pedro Araujo sprained his elbow back in June and has not pitched since.
Gabriel Ynoa hasn’t pitched all year and hasn’t had a rotoworld write-up since April.
It’s going to be a wet few days at Fenway. Monday should be clear, but there are forecasts for rain and showers for Tuesday and Wednesday.