MLB Preview: Taking a Look at the Orioles' Remaining Series in April
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With much of April still remaining, it's not too late for the Orioles to have a good first month.
Baltimore has six series remaining in April, three against division opponents. Here's a look at the the O's remaining match-ups for the month.
Orioles at Yankees: April 12-14
The Orioles last faced the Yankees in game five of the ALDS.
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Predicted Outcome: Yankees win series 2-1
The last time Baltimore traveled to New York, it saw its magical 2012 season come to an end, losing 3-1 in game five of the American League Division Series. This weekend, the Orioles hope to see their first series against the Yankees end on a more positive note.
Last season, the Orioles split their 18 games with the Yankees, going 9-9 with five of those losses coming in the Bronx. However, the Orioles will face a much different lineup to open their series with the Yankees than the club they faced in 2012.
Despite the injuries, the Yankees have found serviceable players to fill their absence. New York is hitting .281 and leads the league in home runs with 15. But Yankees' pitchers have struggled, posting a combined ERA of 4.89 in their first eight games. Opponents are hitting .306.
For an offense as successful as the Orioles has been this season, facing the Yankees pitching staff could be a welcomed sight.
As have the Yankees, O's pitchers have struggled, too, possibly making for a high-scoring series.
Going into Yankee Stadium and coming out a series winner is no easy task. While the Orioles might be up to it offensively, they could struggle in the rotation. In what could be a nice offensive affair for both teams, I think the Yankees will walk out series winners.
Orioles vs. Rays: April 16-18
The Orioles will have their first season rematch of the year against the Rays.
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Series Prediction: Orioles win 2-1
On Tuesday, the Orioles will welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to Camden Yards for the first time in 2013. In a rematch of the opening series in Tampa this month, can we expect the same success the second time around?
The Rays have struggled on offense this season, hitting just .231 as a team while averaging an on-base percentage of .307. The long ball also has been missing, as they have hit just four in their first eight games.
The Rays also have struggled with their pitching
Tampa Bay has a team ERA of 5.53. Starting pitcher and 2012 Cy Young Award winner David Price has struggled. The usually dominant lefty has been less than stellar in two starts, allowing 10 runs over 11 innings of work. Opposing teams also are hitting .354 against him.
On paper, the Rays have a strong enough roster to bounce out of their early season funk. But the Orioles have to love facing the Rays at home following their opening road series. Baltimore should go into this series with confidence and expect to emerge on top against the struggling Rays at home.
Orioles vs. Dodgers: April 19-21
Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers will travel east to face off against the Orioles in a much anticipated weekend series.
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Series Prediction: Dodgers win 3-0
While the Orioles are clicking offensively, they also have not faced a pitching staff such as the Dodgers. As it stands, the Dodgers are second in the majors in ERA (2.18) and first in batting average against (.182).
The Dodgers played six of their first seven games at home, which could justify the phenomenal pitching numbers early on. Last season, Dodgers pitchers allowed a home ERA of just 2.85.
Los Angeles might find its pitchers struggling more inside the hitter-friendly confines of Camden Yards. That said, most teams seem to have at least one series each month that they wish they could get back, and for the Orioles, it could be this one.
Baltimore must tackle the tall task of disrupting the Dodgers' pitching rotation to have any shot in this series.
Orioles vs. Blue Jays: April 22-24
The Orioles close out their nine game home stand with a series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
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Series Prediction: Orioles win 2-1
Toronto has hit the long ball—12 home runs in seven games. But where the Jays have struggled is with their batting average (.224) and on-base percentage (.288). Toronto also has struggled with strikeouts—63, averaging nine per game.
The Jays are another team the Orioles will face that has struggled with pitching. Toronto ranks 26th in batting average against (.282) and 25th in team ERA (5.06).
Assuming the O's have trouble against the Dodgers, their series against Toronto could be a nice opportunity for a rebound. While Baltimore will see several new faces on the roster of their familiar foes, expect a much-needed series win against Toronto.
Orioles at Athletics: April 25-28
The Orioles will close out the month of April with a trip out west, facing the Oakland A's in a four game series.
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Series Prediction: Series split 2-2
For now, Oakland is tied for the highest win streak of any team in the league, having won five straight after starting 0-2. The Athletics can attribute their recent string of success to strong pitching and solid hitting, ranking in the upper half of the league in both categories.
But the Athletics have yet to face a team with as potent an offense as the Orioles.
In their first two series, Oakland faced the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros, two of the worst offensive teams in the league. Before playing the Orioles, the Athletics also will face the Angels, Tigers, Rays and Red Sox, all teams that could expose Oakland's pitching.
The Orioles dropped their only series on the road against Oakland last season, going 1-2 in the series. Baltimore has a high-powered offense, and the Athletics play well at home. Keeping those two facts in mind, the Orioles could manage a series split in Oakland.
Orioles at Mariners: April 29-March 1
Baltimore will finish the month of April with a series in Seattle.
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Series Prediction: Orioles win 3-0
The Orioles travel to Seattle to finish out the first month. The Mariners hold a 4-5 record, which seems remarkable given their struggles offensively and defensively.
Offensively, the Mariners sit at 27th in the majors in batting average (.213) and 26th in on-base percentage (.282). On the mound, the Mariners haven't fared much better.
Despite their sixth-best batting average against (.217), Seattle has somehow managed to post a 5.89 ERA, the third-highest of any team in the league. Its outrageously high ERA can likely be credited to the 11 homers the team has yielded—the fourth-highest of any team.
The Orioles were just one game away from a season sweep of the Mariners in 2012, going 8-1. Based on the early season stats, this series appears to be even. Seattle's team statistics don't appear good enough to maintain its relatively successful start, but yet it sits just one game under .500.
If the Orioles can manage to avoid staff ace Felix Hernandez, Baltimore could earn its first series sweep of the season.