The Orioles wrapped up their homestand yesterday with their second straight win over the Tigers to improve their Camden Yards record to 35-23. Only the Red Sox at 36 have more wins at home among American League teams.
Now, about that road record ...
The Orioles are 20-33 as they head to the West Coast for games in Anaheim, Oakland and Seattle. Their win total is the second-lowest in the league behind the Athletics.
They’ve lost 10 of their last 14 series away from Baltimore. And the West Coast is no picnic, no matter the opponent or time of the season. It just feels like a grind.
How do the Orioles improve on their road record? It doesn’t require a major investigation to figure it out. We’re not spinning a Rubik’s Cube. This isn’t the New York Times crossword puzzle.
It’s more like Wheel of Fortune with the board reading “P_tch Better.” Points deducted if you have to buy a vowel.
“Pitch better,” said manager Buck Showalter, solving the puzzle. “Our starting pitching, we’ve got to ... “
Same answer. It’s a trick question.
“We’re getting ready to face a hot team in Anaheim,” Showalter continued. “They’re playing really well. Fortunately or unfortunately, I’ve been watching a lot of their games after ours are over for the last five or six days. I’ve seen a lot of them. They’re pitching really well. There’s a lot of factors, but the most glaring one is we have to pitch better from our starters. Keep us involved in the game more.
“We’ve had some good ones, too, on the road. But it’s something where we’ve got to be more consistent through the rotation.”
The Orioles are 30-39 on the West Coast the last six seasons.
“It’s going to be big,” said Ubaldo Jiménez. “I mean, it’s always a challenge to go to the West Coast because of the difference of the time and stuff like that. You have to get adjusted. But we have to find a way to get some wins.”
“It’s important to us,” said Jonathan Schoop, “because we’re going to play really good teams. You want to go out there and play to win, play hard, leave it out there, win as many games as we can to push our way to the playoffs, because that’s our goal. Win the playoffs and win the World Series.”
The Orioles went to Anaheim last May and took two of three games, denied the sweep with a 10-2 loss. Joey Rickard and Manny Machado hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning in the opener. Rickard had his first career leadoff shot.
The second game, a 3-1 win, will be remembered for Matt Wieters’ three-run homer off Joe Smith with two outs in the ninth inning.
Schoop was 10-for-22 with a double and two home runs in six games against the Angels.
The Orioles have won three of the last four series in Anaheim. Their last three-game sweep came in August 2010.
Dylan Bundy is making his second career appearance against the Angels and his first start. He allowed four runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings after relieving Jiménez on May 22, 2016 in Anaheim. Carlos Perez hit a three-run homer.
The Angels are J.C. Ramirez’s fifth team and the first to let him start. He’s 10-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 24 games, only three out of the bullpen.
Ramirez is coming off eight scoreless innings against the Phillies. He’s strung together three straight quality starts with three earned runs allowed in 20 2/3 innings.
Ramirez has totaled 1 2/3 relief innings against the Orioles and allowed one run and three hits. Tim Beckham is 2-for-3.
Beckham is 14-for-24 with the Orioles, including three doubles, a triple, three home runs, five RBIs and six runs scored. He’s 19-for-43 (.442) in 11 games at Camden Yards this season.
“It’s about energy,” Machado said. “He goes out there and plays the game hard, runs out balls, and dives for balls. He makes nice plays. That’s a sign he’s been having a good offensive year and he hasn’t stopped since he’s come over here, so we’re glad to have him on this side and he’s helping us win some ballgames.”
Trey Mancini is 18-for-54 (.333) with two home runs as the designated hitter this season.
Schoop tied his career high with his 25th home run yesterday.
Rickard is 14-for-36 (.389) with five doubles and two home runs while batting ninth.