The Baltimore Orioles have raised their fans’ expectations after winning 11 of their final 13 games before the All-Star break.
The Orioles look to pick up where they left off on Friday when they open a three-game series against the visiting New York Yankees.
Although Baltimore faces an uphill battle in its quest for its first postseason appearance since 2016, manager Brandon Hyde isn’t shying away from the fans’ expectations, however.
“They can jump on it,” Hyde said of the team’s bandwagon, per the Baltimore Sun. “Going into this year, for me, that was the No. 1 goal, was to have our players continue to improve, but also show Orioles fans that we are improving and that we’re putting a good product on the field.”
Right-hander Tyler Wells (7-5, 3.38 ERA) will look to add to the team’s good vibes when he takes the mound on Friday.
“This is just proving to ourselves that we’re competing right there with everyone else,” Wells said. “I think it’s extremely significant for us as players, but I think it’s even more significant for the fans and showing them that the tides are turning.”
Wells, 27, had won six straight decisions before taking the loss in his last outing. He allowed three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-4 setback against the Tampa Bay Rays last Friday.
Wells is 0-2 with a 3.32 ERA in nine career appearances (three starts) versus the Yankees.
Aaron Judge, who crushed a three-run homer in New York’s 7-5 setback against Houston in the nightcap of a doubleheader on Thursday, is 4-for-11 with a double against Wells. The hurler, however, has enjoyed success in small sample sizes versus Anthony Rizzo (0-for-7), Joey Gallo (0-for-7, four strikeouts) and Isiah Kiner-Falefa (0-for-6).
Gleyber Torres launched a two-run homer in the nightcap. He is 21-for-62 with two homers, 11 RBIs and 12 runs in July.
DJ LeMahieu belted a solo homer in the Yankees’ 3-2 loss in the opener of their doubleheader. He is 14-for-33 with 10 runs in his last nine games.
The power display aside, New York has lost four in a row on the road and seven of its last 10 games overall.
“We just haven’t pushed it over the finish line,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters of his team’s recent stretch. “… It’s a long season, it’s not gonna be perfect. Hope you guys didn’t think it was going to be perfect. I certainly didn’t.”
New York right-hander Jameson Taillon (10-2, 3.86) will get the start on Friday.
Taillon, 30, allowed one run on two hits and struck out five in six innings in a 14-1 romp over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.
He owns a 1-0 record with a 3.91 ERA in five career starts versus Baltimore.
Anthony Santander leads the Orioles with 15 homers this season, including five coming against the Yankees. New York, however, has overcome Santander’s power surge to win nine of the 13 meetings between the American League East rivals.
–Field Level Media