On their final East Coast road trip of the 2019 regular season, the Dodgers will begin a three-game set against the orioles on Tuesday in Baltimore.
It’s no secret the Orioles are one of the worst clubs in the bigs, sitting in last place in the AL East with a 46-97 record and trailing the division-leading Yankees by a whopping 48 games.
The Orioles lost five straight contests. Most recently, they were swept at home by the Rangers in a four-game series that concluded on Sunday.
Regardless, the Orioles’ lowly record does not mean they are without talent. They have an impressive young core and currently flaunt 10 players who have double-digits in long balls, led by Trey Mancini with 30, Renato Nunez with 29 and Jonathan Villar with 20.
Among players with the minimum AB, second baseman Hanser Alberto is the leader on the squad with a .321 average, and his 147 base hits are second only to Villar’s 154.
Nunez leads is the team leader with 81 RBI.
Lefty starting pitcher John Means marshals the pitching staff with 10 wins and is first on the club among all starters with a 3.50 ERA.
As far as team numbers go, the Orioles are 12th in the American League in run production. Their 5.76 team ERA ranks dead last in the AL, opening the door for the Dodgers to do some heavy damage at the dish this week.
Los Angeles enters the series having lost two of their last three games at home against the Giants. The Dodgers are in a position to clinch the NL West with a victory on Tuesday evening, regardless how second-place Arizona fares.
Before the beginning of play on Tuesday, Los Angeles has a narrow three-game lead over the Braves for home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs.
The Boys in Blue have been slumbering a bit at the plate lately. Part of the cause has been due to the absence of Max Muncy, coupled with the fact that several regular players are dealing with some untimely cool streaks offensively.
Muncy could conceivably be in line for a return sometime next week. In the meantime, rookie Gavin Lux has been seeing most of the starts at the keystone, but the 21-year-old Wisconsin native is just one for his last 15 after going 2-for-5 in his MLB debut against the Rockies on September 2.
In the opener on Tuesday, Walker Buehler (12-3, 3.28 ERA) will face old lefty foe Ty Blach (1-2, 10.95 ERA). Wednesday will see swing man Ross Stripling (4-4, 3.52 ERA) battle the aforementioned Means. In the finale on Thursday, Rich Hill (4-1, 2.55 ERA) will return to the bump for the Dodgers and square off against righty Dylan Bundy (6-13, 5.06 ERA).
Expect the ball to be flying in Baltimore, as Camden Yards perennially ranks as one of the Top 3 home run-friendly parks in the majors. Coincidentally, the Dodgers rank third in the bigs this season with 255 long balls, trailing just the Twins (275) and Yankees (270).
The weather forecast is setting up to be unusually warm for the Mid-Atlantic area this time of the year. By mid-week, highs are predicted to be in the low nineties with very uncomfortable levels of humidity.
I will be attending Wednesday’s contest—if you happen to be around the Baltimore area this week, feel free to shoot me a note on Twitter, stop by and say “hello.”