After winning the series against the AL West leading Houston Astros in exciting fashion, the Orioles get back on the road. The final series in the regular season they will play outside of Camden Yards takes them to Cleveland for four games against the Guardians.
Orioles conclude final road trip of regular season with four game set against the Guardians
KNOW YOUR OPPONENT
After playing spoiler to the Texas Rangers last weekend with a three-game sweep, the Guardians followed that up by getting swept against the lowly Kansas City Royals, getting outscored 19-12 by their division rivals.
In their last 10 games, the Guardians have a 4-6 record. On the season, they are nine games under .500 and have a -22 run differential. Their season is just about over, so they'll be looking to play spoiler again as they play the long game ahead of 2024.
The Orioles and Guardians met at Camden Yards to end the month of May. The Guardians won the series 2-1, winning game one 5-0 and game three 12-8, with the Orioles winning the middle game 8-5. The winner of this series will subsequently win the season series, with a split giving Cleveland the edge.
Thursday, 9/21: Grayson Rodriguez vs TBD
With Jack Flaherty's start being skipped as he's temporarily in the bullpen, Rodriguez starts the series opener. On the season, the rookie has a 4.53 ERA, 4.13 FIP, and 1.338 WHIP, averaging 3.2 walks per nine and 9.5 strikeouts per nine in 111 1/3 innings and 21 starts.
Rodriguez's last start was arguably his most impressive in the majors. He held the Tampa Bay Rays to five hits in eight shutout innings, striking out seven hitters as he earned his sixth win of the season in a series split. This will be the first time he faces the Guardians.
The Guardians have not announced a starter opposing Rodriguez, but FanGraphs projects it to be Hunter Gaddis. In limited action this year, Gaddis has a 4.85 ERA, 5.31 FIP, and 1.333 WHIP, averaging a rather low 5.3 strikeouts per nine in 39 innings, making six starts and four relief appearances.
Friday, 9/22: Dean Kremer vs Shane Bieber
Kremer will get the nod in the Friday night game for the Orioles. His last start was solid, holding the Rays to one run on two hits and two walks, striking out five hitters in five innings pitched in the game Baltimore officially clinched a playoff spot. This will be his first time facing Cleveland this season.
On the season, the righty has solid numbers. He's posted a 4.30 ERA, 1.305 WHIP, and 4.66 FIP in 164 innings pitched, averaging 1.5 home runs per nine, 2.9 walks per nine, and eight strikeouts per nine through 30 starts.
Bieber will get the start for Cleveland, being activated from the 60 Day IL for what would be his first start since July 9 against the Royals. Bieber has a 3.77 ERA, 4.11 FIP, and 1.248 WHIP in 19 starts, averaging 2.5 walks per nine and 7.3 strikeouts per nine in 117 innings.
Saturday, 9/23: John Means vs Cal Quantrill
It'll be the lefty ace Means getting one of the weekend starts for the Orioles. Means will be making his third start after returning from Tommy John Surgery and a teres major strain. He's allowed four runs in 10 innings, giving him a 3.60 ERA through two starts.
Means faced the Astros in the series opener his last time out. He went five innings for the second start in a row, allowing one run on four hits and three walks, striking out one as he got a no decision for his efforts.
Starting opposite Means will be Quantrill, entering his fifth start of September. Through 90 2/3 innings this season, Quantrill has a 5.26 ERA, 4.76 FIP, and 1.412 WHIP, averaging three walks per nine and 5.1 strikeouts per nine in 17 starts.
Sunday, 9/24: Kyle Gibson vs TBD
Baltimore's opening day starter will take the mound for the 32nd time of the season in the series finale. Kyle Gibson has a 5.00 ERA, 4.23 FIP, and 1.328 WHIP to his name, averaging 7.5 strikeouts per nine and 2.7 walks per nine in 31 starts and 180 innings. 200 innings isn't out of the question for Gibson this year as long as he can put together another handful of quality starts.
Gibson had an unspectacular start his last time out. He failed to complete five innings against the Astros, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. Against the Guardians earlier this season, he allowed three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, getting credit for the win.
Cleveland hasn't announced a finale starter, so we'll go with FanGraphs' projected starter, Gavin Williams. Through 82 innings this season, Williams has a 3.29 ERA, 4.05 FIP, and 1.256 WHIP, averaging 8.9 strikeouts per nine and 4.1 walks per nine across 16 starts in his rookie season.
With the Orioles magic number to clinch the AL East dropping with each win, this is a great chance to lower that number further with four games against a struggling Guardians team. Every win matters, let's play ball!