The Los Angeles Angels open up a six-game homestand with a three-game set against the second worst team in the Major Leagues, the Baltimore Orioles. Sitting at two games below .500, the Angels look to take advantage of a lesser opponent to continue their good work after a series win against the New York Yankees.
In that series win, the Angels saw offensive explosions from Shohei Ohtani and Jared Walsh. Ohtani hit three home runs in the first two games of the series, while Walsh had two home runs in the series finale, including a game-tying grand slam in the ninth inning.
To win this series, the Angels offense is going to need to capitalize against Orioles pitching that has struggled mightily this season. The probable starters for this series do not include ace John Means, which is somewhat of a lucky break for the Halos. The ERA’s of the three Orioles starters are 7.11, 5.92, and 6.57 respectively.
Despite that and their team record, no baseball team can be taken lightly. The Orioles are coming off of a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros. They won all three games by a total score of 27-12, showing the best of what they can do offensively and on the mound.
Offensively, the Orioles are a relatively good team, ranking somewhere among league average in most of the major statistical categories. They are led by Cedric Mullens, who is slashing .322/.391/.550 with 14 home runs.
The Angels should at the very least win this series. A sweep would put them over .500 for their next series against the Boston Red Sox, while just winning the series would put them a game under. If the Angels want to get back into the postseason picture, they simply cannot accept series losses to opponents of this caliber.
To ensure that doesn’t happen, they can rely on their bats — which rank among the best in the league — to take advantage of a troubled pitching staff. In addition, they could see the return of Justin Upton, who has spent some time on the 10-day IL with a back strain.
Angels (39-41) vs. Orioles (27-54)
Game 1: Friday, July 2, 6:38 p.m. PT
Game 2: Saturday, July 3, 7:07 p.m. PT
Game 3: Sunday, July 4, 1:07 p.m. PT
Probable Pitching Matchups:
Griffin Canning (5-4, 4.95 ERA) vs. Keegan Akin (0-4, 7.11 ERA)
Alex Cobb (5-3, 5.09 ERA) vs. Jorge Lopez (2-10, 5.92 ERA)
Patrick Sandoval (2-2, 3.89 ERA) vs. Thomas Eshelman (0-1, 6.57 ERA)