Series Preview: Orioles battle Twins in last series before All-Star Break

MINNEAPOLIS — The road trips continue to haunt the Baltimore Orioles, and this weekend will not be any easier, as the Birds head to Target Field for a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins. This marks the last series for both teams before the All-Star Break, which takes place July 10-13 with the All-Star Game on the 11th from Marlins Park.

Along with the road woes, the O’s starting pitching reamins hard to watch. Two bad starts from Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jimenez, along with the team scoring just three runs in three games, led to Baltimore getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this week. The Twins, meanwhile, just hosted the Los Angeles Angels in a three-game series, taking two of three.

Standings Update: The free-falling Orioles (40-44) come into Minneapolis fourth-place in the American League East, 8.5 games behind the Red Sox (49-36). The Twins, after hanging around first place in the AL Central early on, stand in third and are 1.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians (44-39), with the Kansas City Royals (44-40) just a half game behind The Tribe.

Last Meeting: In late May, the Twins swept the Orioles in a three-game series at Camden Yards. The sweep was part of a seven-game losing streak for the Birds, and at the time was very uncharacteristic as Baltimore entered that series with a 15-4 home record.

In that series, Dylan Bundy delivered a solid seven-inning, two-run performance, but Jimenez (4.0 IP/6 ER) and Chris Tillman (5.0 IP/4 ER) struggled in their starts. As usual, the O’s relied on the long ball offensively, with six of their 10 runs scored in the series coming on home runs.

Game Times and Pitching Match-Ups: 

Game 1Thursday, July 6, 8:10 pm – Bundy (8-7, 4.02 ERA) vs. Jose Berrios (7-2, 3.44 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2Friday, July 7, 8:10 pm – Kevin Gausman (5-7, 5.61 ERA) vs. TBD – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3Saturday, July 8, 2:10 pm – TBD vs. TBD – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 4Sunday, July 9, 2:10 pm – Ubaldo Jimenez (3-4, 6.64 ERA) vs. TBD – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Orioles:

  • So far in this road trip, the O’s are hitting .220 as a team and pitching to a 6.38 ERA
  • In his last four starts, Bundy has allowed 18 earned runs on 24 hits (seven home runs), and 10 walks
  • Manny Machado owns a lifetime .308 average against the Twins. Mark Trumbo is close behind, with a career .304 average against Minnesota
  • Jimenez has pitched well in his career against the Twins (3.13 ERA), but in a May start against Minnesota he lasted just four innings and gave up six runs

Notes on the Twins: 

  • Ervin Santana already recorded four complete games this season, first in the MLB. He also ranks first in shutouts with three
  • Joe Mauer, a career .341 hitter against the Orioles, has seven home runs in 71 games. In 10 games against Baltimore, Robbie Grossman is .382 with a .462 on-base percentage
  • Miguel Sano, currently on a seven-game hitting streak, has gone 10-for-29 in that span with two home runs and seven RBI

All-Star Update: Jonathan Schoop is currently the only Oriole that will be making the trip down to Miami. Elected as an AL alternate, Schoop will be making his first All-Star Game appearance.

After the Break: The Orioles return to Camden Yards for a weekend showdown with the defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. The three-game set kicks off on Friday, July 14.

Image Credit: San Diego Union Tribune 

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