The Baltimore Orioles return home this weekend for a series at Camden Yards against the Detroit Tigers. The Orioles are coming in hot, having earned three consecutive series wins, including back to back shutouts of the Nationals. Baltimore currently has a record of 11-7 and are tied with the New York Yankees for second place in the daunting American League East. They will look to continue their winning ways against a Tigers team that is 7-10, good enough for third in the AL Central, but is on a hot streak of their own.
Detroit has won each of its last two series with a combined 4-1 record in that time. They feature a solid young core highlighted by Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene and Akil Baddoo. Baltimore will also be welcoming former Orioles Jonathan Schoop and Tyler Nevin back into town, but the main attraction on the Tigers is Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera is a future first ballot hall of famer on a very short list of players with 3,000+ hits and 500+ homeruns. This is not the last time the Orioles will face Cabrera as the Orioles and Tigers have a four game series to close the month, but it is the last chance for O's fans to see him in person at Camden Yards as Cabrera has announced that he will retire after the season. Let's take a closer look at this upcoming series.
Game one: Tyler Wells v. Michael Lorenzen
Wells is projected make his third start, fourth appearance of the season on Friday. Wells came into this year as a long shot to make the starting rotation but beat out Grayson Rodriguez for the fifth starting spot. Wells then stepped up when Kyle Bradish got hurt on April 3 with a heroic performance. Wells volunteered to come out of the bullpen and wound up pitching five perfect innings to help the Orioles win the game and save the bullpen that was struggling at the time. Wells has hit a few bumps in the road over his next two starts and now has a season ERA of 3.86. Wells will look to steady the ship against the Tigers.
Michael Lorenzen started the year on the IL and is projected to make his second start of the season Friday. Lorenzen, a former two way player who now almost exclusively pitches, made his season debut on April 15 and was rudely greeted by the San Fransisco Giants. The Orioles will look to spoil Lorenzen's trip to Baltimore in the same manner and hopefully increase the 13.50 ERA Lorenzen brings with him.
Game two: Kyle Gibson v. Joey Wentz
Gibson is scheduled to make his fifth start this season on Saturday. Gibson is coming off his first no decision of the year and will look to get back into the win column on Saturday. Gibson has been the Orioles most consistent starter so far this season which is exactly what he was brought here to do. Gibson should continue to eat up innings and be a verteran leader for this pitching staff, while hopefully improving his 4.18 ERA.
Wentz, like Wells, is projected to make his third start, fourth appearance, of the season. Wentz's most recent appearance was by far his best of the season, going 5.2 innings while only allowing one run and striking out seven, lowering his season ERA to 6.39. Wentz is the only lefty projected to start in this series and will look to take advantage of the deep left field wall in Camden Yards.
Game three: Grayson Rodriguez v. TBD
Grayson Rodriguez is scheduled to make his fourth start of the season and will look to build on his momentum. GrayRod's last start saw him again struggle through the first inning. Rodriguez eventually settled in and completed five innings while striking out a career high eight batters. Rodriguez has walked the leadoff batter and allowed runs in the the first inning of each of his three starts. If he can throw strikes early and get through the first inning unscathed, Rodriguez will be very hard to beat.
This is a very winable series for the Orioles. The bullpen got a lot of rest after strong starts from Dean Kremer and Bradish, plus a day off. Yennier Cano has been lights out since being called up and solidified the strength the Orioles bullpen is. Mullins and Santander have started hitting the ball better and Gunnar Henderson had an RBI single to finish off the Nationals.
Jorge Mateo, who left Wednesday's game with right hip discomfort is considered day-to-day, but it's definitely a good sign that he hasn't been put on the IL. With Ramon Urias returning to the lineup the O's have more than enough depth to allow Mateo the time he needs to recover. Overall the Orioles look to be heading in the right direction.