West Coast trip could define Baltimore Orioles’ season

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 06: Trey Mancini
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 06: Trey Mancini /
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Then comes a three game set against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

The Mariners are another team dealing with a host of pitching issues. However, the Mariners also have an offense that can overcome those issues.

Felix Hernandez just went back on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis, and it is possible he could be back in time to face the Orioles.

Hisashi Iwakuma is on a rehab assignment, as he comes back from right shoulder inflammation. Drew Smyly is out for the year after having Tommy John surgery. Recently acquired David Phelps left his last appearance due to injury.

With that said, James Paxton has finally showed his potential in rising to a potential ace for the Mariners. Ariel Miranda, well, I don’t need to say much about him, do I?

Yovani Gallardo is currently slotted third in the Mariners’ rotation, and he has been everything Oriole fans remember, which is nothing good. The rotation is rounded out by recently acquired Erasmo Ramirez, who got rocked Sunday against Kansas City and Marco Gonzalez. Again, not exactly a team of Cy Youngs.

The offense contains power and speed. The power aspect is anchored by Nelson Cruz, who is near the top in HRs in the AL, and is tops in the American League in RBIs ahead of Jonathan Schoop. The Mariners also have Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino, who is finally living up to the lofty expectations that were anticipated of him.

As for the speed, the team also has Jean Segura at short stop, Leonys Martin in right field and Oriole fan favorite Jarrod Dyson in center field.

For many reasons, the Mariners will be a stiff test for the Orioles. But, the best reason is that a series win here could catapult the Orioles ahead of them in the race for the last wild card spot.

The Orioles’ 10-game road trip to the West Coast presents a chance to put two contending teams behind them, and beat up on three teams with pitching staffs that are certainly less experienced, and possibly not much better than the Orioles.

This is a sharp contrast for a team that has faced top-level pitching for much of the year.

The Orioles have done a pretty good job so far in 2017 of beating up on the teams they should beat. Now is the time to prove that, with 19 of their next 22 games against teams from the AL West.

Success against these three teams will put the Orioles in a good spot as they prepare to face the gauntlet known as the AL East to wrap up the 2017 season.

Next: WATCH: Orioles Turn Magnificent Triple Play

Make no mistake about it, this should be and must be a winning road trip for the Baltimore Orioles.