After starting their homestand with a series win over the Toronto Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles continue their nine game homestand to end August by welcoming the NL West's Colorado Rockies to Camden Yards for three games.
Baltimore Orioles battle Colorado Rockies in Camden Yards weekend series
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The Rockies reside in last place in the NL West, entering this series with a paltry 48-79 record, possessing an equally paltry -180 run differential, putting them ahead of only the Oakland A's in run differential, with Oakland possessing a -304 mark before they start play on Thursday night.
In addition to that, the Rockies come into this series with four straight losses, three of which came as they got swept by the Tampa Bay Rays, who the Orioles are trying to stay ahead of in the AL East race. The Rockies are 2-4 in series played in August, not counting the Padres series that started in July.
The Orioles and Rockies have played each other just 18 times, all in the regular season, with the Orioles holding a 8-10 record against Colorado. Their last meeting came in May of 2019 at Coors Field, with the Rockies taking two of three games.
Friday, 8/25: Kyle Freeland vs Cole Irvin
One of the longer tenured players in the roster, Freeland starts the series opener for the Rockies. He possesses a rather high 5.02 ERA and 5.18 FIP, combining that with a 1.473 WHIP, 1.6 home runs per nine innings, and 2.6 walks per nine in 24 starts and 129 innings pitched.
Re-inserted into the rotation when the Orioles went with six starters, Irvin gets moved up a day as the status of Jack Flaherty remains unclear after he was scratched from Wednesday's planned start. Irvin has a 3.00 ERA and 1.083 WHIP against the Rockies in his career, allowing four runs in 12 innings and two starts.
On the season, Irvin will make his 11th start and 19th appearance in an Orioles uniform. He has a 4.66 ERA, 4.25 FIP, and 1.379 WHIP in 58 innings. He allowed one run on four hits and one walk over five innings against the Oakland Athletics in his last start.
Saturday, 8/26: Chris Flexen vs TBD
Flexen will get the start for the Rockies in the middle game. In a Rockies uniform, he's allowed 20 runs in 25 2/3 innings over five starts. Combined between the Rockies and Seattle Mariners, he has a 7.18 ERA, 6.73 FIP, 1.788 WHIP, 2.5 home runs per nine, and 3.7 walks per nine in 67 2/3 innings, nine starts, and 22 total appearances.
With the status of Flaherty up in the air, a starter has not been announced for the second and third game. Thanks to the six-man rotation and the day off before the Blue Jays series, Kyle Bradish would be on five days rest for Saturday.
Bradish, who has been pitching very well, could face the Rockies for the first time in his career. His last start came in the Oakland series, pitching six shutout innings with eight strikeouts in a 12-1 win. He has a 3.03 ERA, 3.56 FIP, and 1.104 WHIP over 23 starts and 127 2/3 innings pitched.
Sunday, 8/27: Ty Blach vs TBD
Blach, a member of the 2019 Orioles for five starts, gets the ball for the Rockies in the series finale. In his second season in Denver, he has a 4.39 ERA, 4.88 FIP, and 1.561 WHIP, averaging 2.4 walks per nine and a low strikeout average of 4.2 per nine. He's made six starts and seven relief appearances.
If Flaherty doesn't appear in this series, Grayson Rodriguez would also be on ample rest to get a start against the Rockies. He got saddled with the loss in the first game of the Blue Jays series, allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings.
The improvements are still there for the flamethrowing rookie. He has lowered his ERA to 5.38 on the season, paired with a 4.62 FIP, 1.425 WHIP, and 9.4 strikeouts per nine in 87 innings and 17 starts. He is still averaging 3.5 walks per nine, so he has to work on limiting the free passes.
Facing a team in the bottom of both their division and the standings, this is a perfect opportunity for the Orioles to pick up necessary wins in the AL East race ahead of the rosters expanding in September, with interesting roster decisions awaiting them.