West Coast trip could define Baltimore Orioles’ season

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 06: Trey Mancini
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 06: Trey Mancini /
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Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini, Tim Beckham
BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 06: Trey Mancini /

The Baltimore Orioles are kicking off a ten-game road trip on the West Coast that could be their most pivotal stretch of games all season.

The Baltimore Orioles are kicking off a ten-game road trip on the West Coast in Anaheim against the Angels on Monday, before facing the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners.

After a 5-2 home stand featuring a sweep and a four-game series split, the Orioles now take their talents to the West Coast.

It may be the most pivotal stretch of their season.

The Baltimore Orioles play six games against the Angels and Mariners on the trip. Those Angels are half a game behind the Orioles, three games out of the second wild card. The Angels, of course, are led by Mike Trout. But, who else do they have?

Funny you ask that. Let’s start with their pitching. The Orioles will be throwing Dylan Bundy, Jeremy Hellickson and Kevin Gausman in the series. The Angels will counter with J.C. Ramirez, Parker Bridwell and Troy Scribner.

Only heard of Bridwell? You aren’t the only one.

Ramirez is 10-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 21 starts in 2017, his only year as a starter over a career spanning 132 games. Bridwell is 5-1 with a 3.20 ERA in his first year as a starter after being traded by the Orioles to the Angels. Scribner will be making his second career start, and fourth career major league appearance.

The Baltimore Orioles will not face Tyler Skaggs and Ricky Nolasco. Skaggs has only made six starts this season, Nolasco has been awful, but the Angels have nowhere else to turn. The Orioles should have the upper hand, not only in the rotation, but also the bullpen.

The Angels bullpen consists of closer Bud Norris, who has really struggled lately after a strong first half. He is followed by Yusmiero Petit, Blake Parker, Cam Bedrosian, Kenyan Middleton, Eduardo Paredes and Jesse Chavez. Again, a strong upper hand to the Orioles here.

This is a team that has been decimated by injuries. Expected starters Nick Tropeano, Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney are all on the 60-day disabled list. Matt Shoemaker just went back on the DL, and he is done for the year. Huston Street, Alex Meyer and Andrew Bailey in the bullpen are all on the disabled list.

A look at the position players on the depth chart reveals a team just getting by. Trout is flanked by  Kole Calhoun and Ben Revere in the outfield. Calhoun has been a source of power for the Angels, and is emerging as a very good player for the Angels. Revere is the third option in left field, behind Cameron Maybin and Eric Young Jr., who are both hurt.

The infield features very strong defense up the middle in Andrelton Simmons and Cliff Pennington. The offense from those guys can be a question mark, however. Yunel Escobar and Luis Valbuena hold down the corner infield spots, but Kaleb Cowart is also starting to see more playing time.

Albert Pujols is the DH, and has had a strong season, and Martin Maldonado and Juan Graterol are behind the plate.

If you think the Baltimore Orioles should win this series, it is because they should. But, we all know the games are played on paper.