Series Preview: Orioles welcome AL foe Mariners for four-game showdown

BALTIMORE — Between taking two of three from the Braves over the weekend and losing two of three to the Nationals in D.C., the Orioles (23-53) split their most recent road trip 3-3. Taking two of three in Atlanta marked just the Orioles’ third series win away from Camden Yards this season, and overall it was their first non-losing road trip of 2018. The Orioles visited two old friends – Nick Markakis and Ryan Flaherty – in Atlanta this weekend, and they’ll be seeing another familiar face in Nelson Cruz this week as the Seattle Mariners (47-31) come to Baltimore for a four-game showdown.

Seattle’s trip to Camden Yards concludes a 10-game road trip that began with a three-game sweep to the Yankees in the Bronx, followed by dropping two of three to the Red Sox at Fenway. This is the second of three 10-game road trips for the Mariners this season.

Beckham to be activated? Over the weekend, Monday was said to be the targeted activation date for Tim Beckham (groin) off the 60-day disabled list. But, according to a tweet from Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun, Buck Showalter would not confirm those plans.

Beckham has not played for the Orioles since April 23 against the Indians. When he does return, it will force Showalter to make some interesting lineup decisions, because Danny Valencia is hitting .291 in June and has played a better third base than he did early on after Beckham’s injury. Beckham was only hitting .179 in 84 plate appearances before his injury, but as Orioles fans know from how Chris Davis has been handled, that might not hurt impact Beckham’s chances of playing at all.

Last Meeting: In August 2017, the Orioles and Mariners played two three-game series in a span of 16 days. Baltimore edged Seattle 4-2 overall, including a three-game sweep at Camden Yards from Aug. 28-30.

On Aug. 29, the O’s shutout the Mariners 4-0 behind the arm of Dylan Bundy, who threw  a complete game with 12 strikeouts. He limited a Seattle lineup including Cruz, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Valencia to one hit and two walks.

A look at the standings: The New York Yankees (50-25) and the Boston Red Sox (52-27) lead the American League East, with the Orioles 27.5 games back. Out west, the Mariners trail the Houston Astros (52-27) by 4.5 games. The Indians (43-33) lead the central as the only team in that division with a winning record.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1Monday, Jun. 25, 7:05 pm – Felix Hernandez (6-6, 5.14 ERA) vs. Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.72 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2Tuesday, Jun. 26, 7:05 pm – James Paxton (6-2, 3.72 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.38 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3Wednesday, Jun. 27, 7:05 pm – Wade LeBlanc (3-0, 3.26 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (2-9, 6.56 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 4Thursday, Jun. 28, 3:05 pm – Mike Leake (8-4, 4.11 ERA) vs. TBA – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Mariners:

  • In seven starts at Camden Yards, Felix Hernandez comes into Monday’s series opener 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA (43.2 IP), allowing 15 runs on 48 hits and 30 strikeouts.
  • Shortstop/second baseman Jean Segura missed the last three games with an infection in his right forearm. Segura’s status for Monday is unknown. Segura’s 99 hits and .334 batting average (296 at-bats) lead the team.
  • Nelson Cruz ties Khris Davis of the Oakland Athletics for second place in the majors with 20 home runs, while right fielder Mitch Haniger‘s 58 RBI ties him with Trevor Story of the Rockies and Eugenio Suárez of the Reds for second in that category.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • In his last six games, Mark Trumbo hit four home runs, including his grand slam on Saturday that propelled the Orioles to a 7-5 win. Trumbo continues to deal with swelling in his right knee that kept him out of Sunday’s starting lineup, but he still managed to hit a home run off the bench as a pinch-hitter. Expect to see more of Trumbo in the DH spot now that the Orioles are back in American League ballparks.
  • While David Hess may have allowed five runs in each of his last three starts, talk of Chris Tillman returning to the rotation is silly. In his most recent rehab start with the Iron Birds, Tillman allowed three runs over two innings on two hits, two walks, and two wild pitches.
  • If the Orioles were to send Hess down, which they shouldn’t, Mike Wright Jr. could step in as the fifth starter over Tillman. According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, Wright Jr.’s ERA stands at 5.36, which is pretty impressive considering Wright carried a 9.36 ERA following a May 12 doubleheader at Camden Yards. Jimmy Yacabonis and Yefry Ramirez could step in as well, but Wright Jr. seems to be the favorite to receive that opportunity if one comes up.

Image Credit: Getty Images 

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