The Baltimore Orioles come into Anaheim for the clubs' first meeting of the 2017 season and, honestly, it couldn't have been at a more crucial time in either clubs' season. After Baltimore's 12-3 throttling of the Detroit Tigers on Sunday and the Angels 11-10 heart-breaker to the Athletics to match, the Orioles stand half a game above the Angels in the Wild Card standings. 55-56 vs. 55-57, that Oakland series could have made this a pretty opportune time to pile on Baltimore and create some separation, but the Angels bullpen comes in limping after blowing a 4-run lead to Oakland.
Time to bounce back, the last game of the Oakland series was very winnable, Bud Norris just continues his second half free-fall, giving up his 10th and 11th earned runs of the second half and ballooning his season ERA to 4.09. The Angels need to capitalize here, they have a very important series with Seattle after this one with the clock beginning to tick for the postseason. The bullpen needs to do better, Bud Norris needs to do better.
JC Ramirez v. Dylan Bundy
Monday, August 7th @ 7:07PM
Ramirez is coming off of the best start of his season/career after carving up the Phillies for 8 shutout innings. Ramirez started August off after having a very solid month of July (29.2 IP in 5 starts with a 3.34 ERA). His development has been fun to watch, although not so fun other times, over the course of the season. He’s been giving the Halos offense a chance to win, that’s all the team can ask for.
Bundy himself is coming off of a stellar previous outing against Kansas City, but he hasn’t been faring as well as Ramirez giving up 19 earned runs in 20.1 IP in July. Bundy started the year out very well, but he’s been in a bit of a decline every month since April. The former top prospect hasn’t had the Major League career most expected him to be having, but the dude can still shove it and show why many thought so highly of him in the first place.
Verdict: This should be a pretty good one. Bundy and Ramirez are a mixed bag of results, it could come down to whose lineup is hotter at the time. This should be a good one, but the homer in me thinks the Angels will pull away with the series opener.
Parker Bridwell v. TBD (Probable: Jeremy Hellickson)
Tuesday, August 8th @ 7:07PM
Parker Bridwell continues to be a godsend for the Angels and will get a chance to face his former team. While not having his best start against Philly the last time out (5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER), Bridwell has been a stud in 9 starts so far with a “flashy” 5-1 record, a 3.20 ERA in 59 IP with a not-too-shabby 1.24 WHIP. We’ll see if he can continue to outperform his FIP and make Baltimore regret letting him go in the first place. Based off of the early returns, thank god Baltimore decided to do so.
Hellickson will be making his second start as an Oriole after being acquired from Philly at the trade deadline. If his first start was an indication of things to come, the Angels could be in trouble. Hellickson spun 7 shutout innings against the Royals, let’s just hope he regresses back into his normal Hellickson level of pitching (like when he was a Philly a week ago).
Verdict: Keep riding the Bridwell train. There’s a theme here: the starting pitchers dictate the outcomes. The Orioles have some thump in their lineup, but the Angels have Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons. Hopefully, home run #23 comes for #27 here.
Troy Scribner v. TBD (Probable: )
Wednesday, August 9th @ 12:37PM
Summary: Scribner will be making his 2nd career start on Wednesday. Scribner had the misfortune giving up 5 runs, 2 earned, against Oakland on Friday. He’s replaced Jesse Chavez in the rotation and might not have an extended chance to showcase himself for long with the possible returns of Andrew Heaney and Garrett Richards down the road.
Overall Verdict: the first two games should be entertaining, but the Angels have been playing better as of late. I wouldn’t call this a must-win series, but it’s an incredibly important one. Let’s hope they get back on track after a pretty abysmal series against Oakland.