Series Preview: Orioles welcome Marlins to Baltimore for first time in eight years

BALTIMORE — The Orioles (19-48) have hit rock-bottom. They own the worst record in the Major Leagues and currently find themselves on a seven-game losing streak, tying a season-high. Dating back to their 9-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on May 24, the Orioles have scored three runs or less in 14 of 20 contests. Through 67 games the Orioles are averaging 3.49 runs-per-game, but getting to three runs has been a real challenge for this ball-club.

Now 27 games out of first place in the American League East, the time for a fresh start is long overdue. Most teams in this situation would have already gotten the ball rolling on this process, but Orioles continue to stand pat. No press conference with ownership or management has taken place, no trades have been made, and no one’s been fired. There’s already an alarming amount of empty seats at Camden Yards every night. The longer the front office waits on rebuilding, the longer fans will stay away.

After suffering consecutive divisional series losses to the Blue Jays and Red Sox, the Orioles shift their attention to the National League for the second time second time this month, with the Miami Marlins (26,43, fifth place in National League East) on-deck for three games at Camden Yards beginning on Friday. The good news for the Orioles is that the Marlins rank right at the bottom of the majors in total offense – Miami currently sits 29th overall with 239 runs scored, and the Orioles rank last with 234.

This marks the Marlins’ first trip to Camden Yards since Jun. 22-24, 2010, when the team was still named the “Florida Marlins.” The Marlins took the first two games of that series, 10-4 and 7-5, but the Orioles avoided the sweep with an 11-5 win in game 3.

Here’s the Orioles’ lineup from that 2010 Marlins series opener on Jun. 22.

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Latest on Bleier: During his most recent relief appearance in Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to Boston, Richard Bleier was seen grimacing in pain and holding his left arm after throwing an 89-mph pitch to Eduardo Nunez that resulted in a groundout.

After the injury, Bleier underwent an X-ray and an MRI, but the severity of the injury isn’t known yet. Buck Showalter said after the game that Bleier ‘has all of the characteristics of a lat’ injury, which won’t bode well for him. Lat injuries, especially for pitchers, take months to recover from.

This is a really tough blow for the Orioles’ bullpen. Belier leads the team in appearances this season (31). Out of the relievers that have been with the big league Orioles club all season, Bleier owns the lowest ERA – 1.93 – of the group. He’s only allowed seven earned runs this season on 36 hits, four walks and 15 strikeouts.

When Bleier officially lands on the disabled list, Tanner Scott will likely get recalled and rejoin the Orioles bullpen after being sent down on Jun. 9. Scott was not seen in Triple-A Norfolk’s clubhouse on Thursday.

Last Meeting / All-Time Series: From May 22-24, 2015 at Marlins Park, Miami took two of three from Baltimore. It was the Orioles’ first series played at Marlins Park after the team moved out of Hard Rock Stadium (then Sun Life Stadium) and into their new ballpark prior to the 2012 season. The Birds took the opener 8-5. Manny Machado finished with three RBI on a groundout and a double. Mike Wright tossed seven shutout innings in game 2, allowing three hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Unfortunately, the Orioles got shutout 1-0. Miami took game 3, 5-2 behind 6.1 innings from Tom Koehler, who allowed one run in his start.

The Marlins lead their all-time series with the Orioles, 20-7. The Orioles are 5-7 at Camden Yards versus the Marlins all-time.

Game times and pitching matchups 

Game 1Friday, Jun. 15, 7:05 pm – José Ureña (1-8, 4.59 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (3-5, 4.58 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Saturday, Jun. 16, 4:05 pm – Wei-Yin Chen (1-3, 6.13 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (2-8, 7.23 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3Sunday, Jun. 17, 1:05 pm – Trevor Richards (1-3, 4.41 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (4-7, 3.66 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Marlins:

  • Miami comes into this series winners in six of their last 10 games. The Marlins just wrapped up a 4-3 homestead that included a 3-1 series win over the San Fransisco Giants from Monday to Thursday (6-3 Thursday loss went 16 innings). Like the Orioles, then Marlins are really struggling to pull fans into the ballpark for games. The combined attendance for the four-game Giants series was 27,752. The all-time worst attendance mark at AT&T Stadium, home of the Giants, was 23,934 in May 2009.
  • On Saturday, former Oriole Wei-Yin Chen will pitch against his old team for the first time since leaving in free agency following the 2015 season. Chen spent four seasons with the Orioles, making 117 starts and pitching to a 3.72 ERA. Chen’s ERA since joining the Marlins has gone up to 5.01. Chen made at least 23 starts in all four of his seasons with the Orioles, but since he’s dealt with multiple injuries to his throwing arm that still gave him trouble at the beginning of the season.
  • The Marlins promoted reliever Kyle Barraclough to closer at the end of May. The right-hander is up to 15 consecutive scoreless appearances with four saves in his new role.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • On Jun. 15 in 2010 (O’s began the year 2-16), the Orioles were 18-47 and finished the year 66-96. In 1988 the O’s began the year 0-21, held a 16-47 record on this date, and ended the season 54-107. The current projections have the Orioles losing 116 games, which could land among the worst records in MLB history.
  • Lifetime against the Marlins, Pedro Alvarez is .284 with 33 hits, seven home runs, and 24 RBI in 116 at-bats. Alvarez spent six seasons in the NL with the Pirates and has more exposure to NL pitchers than perhaps anyone in the Orioles’ lineup.
  • Outfielder Cedric Mullins is currently slashing .313 with 63 hits, 12 doubles, six home runs, and 28 RBI in 201 at-bats with Double-A Bowie. How much more Craig Gentry and Joey Rickard do we need to watch?

Image Credit: Boston Herald

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