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Series preview: Cleveland vs. Orioles

The offensive juggernaut returns to Cleveland

Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Cedric Mullins is a monster.

He’s not a monster exclusively against Cleveland, just mostly against them. The last time these two faced — all the way back in slightly earlier June — the former switch-hitter turned full-time lefty went 10-for-16 with three home runs. He’s continued to hit in three of his four games since that series, and I’m sure he’s salivating at the idea of facing Cleveland pitching again.

Baltimore took two of three from Cleveland last week, including an 18-5 thrashing in the finale. Their offensive surged continued against the Mets in their two-game set, but they dropped the second game and haven’t won since. They are currently riding a four-game skid following a sweep at the hands of the Rays in which they were outscored 16-7 in three games.

The O’s own the worst record in the American League at 22-42 (only the Diamondbacks are worse in the National League at 20-46). The good news? They’ve still scored more runs than the Yankees.

Cleveland will come into this series desperately needing a starter or two to go deep into games — every reliever not named Emmanuel Clase has pitched in the last two days. They’ll be leaning at least one rookie to do it, maybe two, and a guy in Cal Quantrill who has yet to prove he can be a consistent starter.

Team at a glance

  • Record: 22-42
  • Runs Scored: 258
  • Run Differential: -68
  • Last 10: 5-5
  • Slash: .237/.302/.395
  • wOBA: .304
  • wRC+: 94
  • ERA: 5.08
  • SIERA: 4.10
  • K-BB%: 14.6%

Projected starters

Monday, June 14, 7:10 p.m. ET: TBD (RHP Dean Kremer*) vs. J.C. Mejía
The Orioles have yet to announce a starter for Monday night’s game, but FanGraphs and some prominent Baltimore reporters think it will be Dean Kremer.

Still technically a rookie after pitching only 18.2 innings last year, Kremer has started nine games for Baltimore in 2021 and carried an ERA approaching 7.00 before being optioned to Triple-A on May 26. His 2021 campaign started rough and just kept getting worse. In his final two starts before being sent down he allowed a combined nine earned runs over seven innings against the Rays and Twins. He runs a 92.7 mph four-seamer with a cutter, curveball, and sweeping changeup.

Tuesday, June 15, 7:10 p.m. ET: RHP Matt Harvey vs. Cal Quantrill
Matt Harvey just hasn’t been the same since he was the Dark Knight leading the Mets to the World Series in 2015. Six years later and now on his fourth different team, Harvey opened up about his struggle to find his groove again following a rough outing against his former team last week.

Harvey has had an ERA over 7.00 in each of the last three seasons, peaking at 11.57 in 11.2 innings with the Royals in 2020. This year is more of the same for the 32-year-old. His walks are down a little bit, but his lifeless pitch mix fools nobody. That said, he’ll probably throw a no-hitter Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 16, 7:10 p.m. ET: LHP Keegan Akin vs. Aaron Civale
Keegan Akin should be a familiar face for Cleveland’s lineup as they faced him just last week. Unfortunately, he held them scoreless over five innings of work, as he struck out four and allow three hits. His last outing against the Rays was a bit rougher, but he’s a soft-tossing lefty and Cleveland batters just can’t seem to figure them out.

Thursday, June 17, 1:10 p.m. ET: RHP Jorge López vs. TBD (Sam Hentges*)
Cleveland tagged Jorge López for three runs when they faced him last week, but it didn’t matter much as Baltimore’s offense racked up 18 runs against six different Cleveland pitchers. Like Akin, he struggled against the Rays and gave up five earned runs in 4.2 innings, though he did strike out eight — tied for a season-high.

* TBD pitchers based on FanGraphs estimates unless stated otherwise

Lineup highlights

OF, Cedric Mullins - Please, no. Make him stop.

INF, Pat Valaika - Baltimore’s hottest hitter over the last week is ... Pat Valaika? The super-utility infielder has played a bit of everything defensively for the Orioles this season and has gone 5-for-12 in the last week with two doubles and four runs batted in.


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How many games will Cleveland win against the Orioles?

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  • 10%
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