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Series Preview #44: Diamondbacks vs. Orioles

It doesn’t get any easier, folks.

The Oriole Bird stands with a broom in one hand and a flag raised high in the other. He seems harmless enough, but looks can be deceiving. As we all know, dinosaurs begot birds... Could this creature be an associate, or worse distant relative, of the dreaded Dinger? I look and the at first harmless creature becomes more menacing. Arms raised high, feet planted at attention. Those eyes. Those eyes dead set on me. And I begin to fear. Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

At one point, these two teams seemed kindred spirits. They tied for the worst record in the sport in 2021. They both broke records biggest bounce-backs the next season. And at one point, they were both leading their respective divisions this year, holding juggernaut nemeses behind them, on the cusp of shocking the world.

As we are painfully aware, especially after the last three games, the Diamondbacks did not maintain that pace. They have fallen off and are now competing for a Wild Card spot, or else to stay home in October. On the other hand, the Orioles have already clinched a winning record with 29 games left to play in the season. They’ll be competing against the Rays down to the wire, while the Dodgers will coast to the NL West.

Game 1 — 9/1, 6:40PM: Zach Davies (1-5, 6.93 ERA/62 ERA+, 1.60 WHIP) vs. Cole Irvin (1-3, 4.78 ERA/89 ERA+, 1.36 WHIP)

I’m not going to apologize to Zach Davies for all the mean things I said about his return on Twitter yet, but his first start back was a big step towards that. Five innings, five hits, five strikeouts, and the only run came off a solo homer is a pretty good night for a number four starter, and if he can keep doing that, we’ll be in good shape heading into September.

Starting opposite him will be Cole Irvin. Irvin has been in the majors since 2019, having played for the Phillies for two seasons and the A’s for two seasons before coming to Baltimore this year. Philadelphia primarily used him as a reliever before the A’s used him solely as a starter. This year, he started in the rotation, went to the bullpen, and as of 8/12 he is starting once more. In those three most recent starts, he’s had success. He held the Mariners scoreless, and the A’s to just one run, but last time out gave up four in six innings to the Rockies.

Game 2 — 9/2, 5:10 PM: Slade Cecconi (0-0, 2.57 ERA/169 ERA+, 0.90 WHIP) vs. Kyle Bradish (9-6, 3.03 ERA/139 ERA+, 1.11 WHIP)

Cecconi has come out of the gates firing on all cylinders. He’s had three starts and one appearance as the bulk pitcher in bullpen game. In those four games, he has pitched in 4+ innings in all and hasn’t given up more than two runs. His strikeouts are lower than they were in the minors, but he’s also giving up fewer walks and home runs, so it’s a wash. He’ll be trying to get his first win faster than Pfaadt this time out.

Bradish is in his second season in the majors, both of which were with the O’s. His rookie campaign wasn’t spectacular, but serviceable. He had an ERA of 4.90, and ERA+ of only 80, and was walking 3.5 batters per nine innings. This year, he’s brought the ERA down by almost two runs, walking one less batter per nine, and ERA+ says he is 39% better than league average. His last three starts have been against the M’s, the A’s, and the Dinger Lovers, and have given up a total of four runs over those starts.

Game 3 — 9/3, 1:10 PM: Zac Gallen (14-6, 3.32 ERA/129 ERA+, 1.09 WHIP) vs. Jack Flaherty

I don’t want to say that Gallen’s last outing against the Dodgers ended his campaign for Cy Young, but I’m not going to not say it either. The Dodgers just lit him up, hitting four home runs in the weakest 5 13 innings I’ve ever seen from him. The good news is, that’s behind us, and now we get Zac Gallen, Home Field Edition which is the best pitcher in baseball, bar none.

Jack Flaherty has now been on the O’s for four starts since the trade deadline, and... he hasn’t made the best impression. He’s the owner of a 6.41 ERA, which is propped up by a seven run outing against the Padres, but still. First impressions. His last start with the Cardinals was against the Diamondbacks, where he gave up three runs in 5+ innings, in route to a no decision as the Cardinals ultimately won the game 11-7.


Well after getting confident in my last preview, I’m not sure I want to make that mistake again. This team is just as good as the Dodgers, even if they don’t quite have the All Star Team line up of LA. That said, though, Davies still scares me, and Cecconi is due for a warm welcome to the league, so I’m going to guess they lose the series 2-1. Hopefully I’m wrong