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Know Your Enemy: Baltimore Orioles

There are no easy pickings left — but the O’s are lining up very softly against the White Sox this long weekend

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles

The script was supposed to read something like, The White Sox, up 10 games in the AL Central, called up José Rodríguez Yolbert Sánchez Lenyn Sosa on Thursday, giving him a start at shortstop after Tim Anderson was suspended three games for offering home plate umpire Doug Eddings an ice cream sundae ... and instead it’s a little bit more like CAN LENYN SOSA SAVE THE SEASON?!?

Anyway, the White Sox are wheezing along at 33-34, four games behind both the Guardians and Twins in the AL Central. Plenty of time to make up four games (oops FIVE in the loss column, Stone Pony), but at some point you gotta pat the horse’s hiney and get it to trot. We’re two weeks from the season midpoint, so perhaps exploring the studio space above .500 is something the White Sox wanna do.

Scoring more runs and giving up fewer is a place to start; Chicago is still tracking for just a 71-win season based on how badly it gets battered in losses and how closely it ekes its way to wins.

Baltimore, they say, is much improved, and sure, checks out, just eight games under at 31-39. (Yes, that means that if the unspeakable happens and the O’s sweep the Sox this weekend, we’re looking up at that the B.O.’s in the standings.) Based on run differential, the Orioles are a better team than the White Sox, tracking for 72 wins this season. Let’s change that this weekend.

After all, Baltimore is in last place in the brutal AL East, where for most of the season the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays have been in line for the three AL wild card spots. Baltimore’s perpetual rebuild/tank might have taken one step closer to respectability, but 20 games under .500 being considered a good season has to get old after, oh, a decade or so.

Lining Up the Clubs

First, some typically 2022 injury news from the White Sox:

Poor Danny Mendick, clicking so well back in the majors — and then this. Sigh.

The White Sox are, let’s say, an average offensive club statistically, and the Orioles ... are not. Oh my, they are not. In fact, there is no category where Baltimore is ranked in the Top 10 in the majors, with its best being No. 11 overall in barrels (the White Sox are 12th).

But when it comes to pitching, the Orioles gotta be better, right? Let’s take a look.

Pitching Matchups

Thursday, it’s Johnny Cueto vs. Dean Kemer, and no, I don’t know who Dean Kemer is. Was he the Shamwow guy? Well, in the major leagues this season, Kemer is rocking a 2.35 ERA in three starts. Don’t expect the young righthander to pitch deeper into the game than Shimmy Cue, but he tracks to pitch better.

Friday, it’s advantage, White Sox, as Michael Kopech takes the hill against the shimmering 7.38 ERA of Kyle Bradish. Even if we get so-so KoKo on Friday, it should be a huge advantage for the White Sox in this one.

Saturday’s afternoon game sees Lance Lynn take on TBA. Lynn has not been great in his two starts, but we do know his pipes are in midseason form. Perhaps there will less reason to bark at coaches or teammates in the dugout with a start that mirrors more 2021 Cy Lynn than whatever it is the 5.79 ERA 2022 Lynn is to date. Robinson Chirinos and Trey Mancini have hit Lynn pretty well in their careers, but there’s nothing that shouldn’t track as advantage, White Sox in this one.

Sunday, No-no-no-no-no-no Dylan Cease takes the mound against Jordan Lyles, and that’s another big advantage, White Sox. Of all players, Josh Harrison has seen Lyles pretty well in his career.

So really, taking into account Baltimore’s crappy offense and mediocre starting pitching, even a wounded White Sox team really needs to take three of four over the weekend.

DraftKings Corner

Hey friends, do you like sports? Do you also like gambling? Well, SBNation and South Side Sox have just the link for you. Stop by and visit the DraftKings Sportsbook and you can learn that before the opening game of the series, the White Sox are -155 on the moneyline and and -1.5/+125 on the run line ... I don’t know what those things mean, but I bet if you click the link you do! Or will!