BALTIMORE — When a Major League Baseball team finds itself right around .500 and in the thick of a Wild Card race, winning on the road becomes more important. Emerging victorious away from Camden Yards brought on a challenge for the Orioles in recent seasons, and it continues to plague the team in 2017.

When the Orioles left for Anaheim early last week, they sat one game below .500. The O’s knew that two of the three teams they faced out west sported similar records with playoff aspirations. That message, although clear, did not resonate on the field. Baltimore failed to win a single series on their trip, going 4-6 down the stretch.

Time still remains to make a run at the playoffs, but the Orioles need to find consistency. They played some good games out west, but consistency lacked. As the Birds reconvene at Camden Yards, 16 of their next 19 games will take place in Baltimore. Nine of those 16 home games will come against the three teams they competed against out west – the Angels, Athletics, and Mariners. The first team to enter the fray – the Angels.

Standings Update: In the American League East, the Orioles (59-62) come into the weekend with the fourth-place slot in the division, 10.5 games behind Boston (69-51). Los Angeles (62-59) owns the second-place spot in the AL West, 12 games behind the Astros (74-47).

If the season ended today, the two AL Wild Card slots would belong to the Yankees (65-55, four games behind Boston) and the Angels. The Orioles sit three games back in the Wild Card hunt, with the Royals, Twins, Mariners, Rangers, and Rays all ahead of them.

Season Series vs. Angeles: Last week, Los Angeles seized two of three from Baltimore in Anaheim. The Orioles grabbed the first game, 6-2, behind seven solid frames by Dylan Bundy (2ER/5H/0BB/10K). Tied 2-2 in the seventh inning, Manny Machado hit his first of two grand slams of the west coast trip to lift the O’s to victory.

In game two, a 3-2 win for the Angels, it was former Orioles pitcher Parker Bridwell’s turn to toss a seven-inning gem (1ER/6H/4K). L.A. took another win and the series in game three, a 5-1 win in which the Birds got held to just four hits. The Orioles struck first on Welington Castillo‘s 12th home run of the season, but Kevin Gausman lasted just 5.1 innings and gave up four runs (8H/2BB/6K).

Game Times and Pitching Matchups: 

Game 1Friday, Aug. 18, 7:05 pm – Andrew Heaney vs. Jeremy Hellickson (7-7, 4.70 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 2Saturday, Aug. 19, 7:05 pm – J.C. Ramirez (10-10, 4.26 ERA) vs. TBD – MASN, WJZ, 105.7 The Fan.

Game 3Sunday, Aug. 20, 1:35 pm – Parker Bridwell (7-1, 2.88 ERA) vs. TBD – MASN, WJZ, 105.7 The Fan.

Notes on the Angels:

  • In last week’s series against the Orioles, Mike Trout went 4-for-9 with a home run, three walks, and an RBI. In his career, Trout owns a .288 average and 12 home runs in 160 at-bats against Baltimore. It’s safe to say that his Hall of Fame stock is rising.
  • Cameron Maybin’s 25 stolen bases ranks seventh in MLB, and fourth in the AL.
  • On Friday, Heaney returns to the majors after undergoing Tommy John surgery last July. He only made one start last season before landing on the disabled list. Friday marks his first big league appearance since April 5, 2016.

Notes on the Orioles: 

  • Jonathan Schoop‘s 86 RBI ranks second in the AL, and eighth in MLB. He is tied with Khris Davis of Oakland in the AL rankings, Seattle’s Nelson Cruz leads with 96.
  • Bundy’s 12 wins ranks him second on the AL. That ties Bundy with James Paxton (Mariners), Drew Pomeranz (Red Sox) and Ervin Santana (Twins). Chris Sale (Red Sox) and Jason Vargas (Royals) possess 14.
  • Just how amazing has Tim Beckham played for Baltimore? Since joining the Orioles at the end of July, Beckham recorded 30 hits, seven doubles, two triples, four home runs, 10 RBI, and two walks in 62 at-bats. His batting average in an Orioles uniform is .484 and his OBP is .500.

Up Next: The Orioles remain at home for three games against another team they faced out west: The Oakland Athletics.

Image Credit: Sports Chat Place