The Baltimore Orioles enter their three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night in Anaheim with a chance to accomplish something they haven’t done all season.
Win four games in a row.
The Orioles are coming off their first three-game sweep of the Houston Astros since 2008.
It was a surprising development considering Baltimore is last in the American League East and the Astros lead the AL West.
“We were really competitive for three games,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We did a lot of things well.”
The Orioles plan to send left-hander Keegan Akin to the mound for the series opener against the Angels.
Akin (0-4, 7.11 ERA) moved into a starter’s role in late May but is still looking for his first win. He has lost his past four starts, most recently giving up six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 12-4 loss at the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday. He has allowed 19 earned runs in his past three starts covering 14 innings.
Akin hasn’t faced the Angels in his two seasons in the majors.
The Angels were rained out in New York on Thursday afternoon and could not complete their four-game series with the Yankees.
The Angels won two of three against New York, including a dramatic four-run comeback in a seven-run ninth inning on Wednesday, adding up to an 11-8 victory.
Following two rain delays, Aroldis Chapman came in to try to close the win, but he walked three of the first four batters before giving up a game-tying grand slam to Jared Walsh.
The Angels scored three more runs off reliever Lucas Luetge to complete one of the more surprising comebacks in the majors this season.
“You get a break like that and, all of a sudden, it can really catapult the group,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s what I’m looking for. I want to see a bump out of this. I want us to understand what it takes to win, and against a team in a very unfriendly environment.”
The rainout on Thursday pushed Griffin Canning’s start to Friday for the Angels.
Canning (5-4, 4.95) has been solid in his past three outings, posting a 1-0 record and a 2.70 ERA. He most recently allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits in five innings of a 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.
Canning has faced the Orioles twice in his career, making one start, and is 0-2 with a 12.15 ERA.
The series in Anaheim will complete a 10-game trip for Baltimore, which lost 14 straight games in May, plus 14 of 15 during a stretch in June. The team bounced back to win the past three games against the Astros, one of the best teams in the majors.
“We’re continuing to improve,” Hyde said. “I just hope we continue to play competitive baseball, and I was happy with the effort our guys gave this series.”
The Orioles could be without third baseman Maikel Franco, who sprained his ankle on Wednesday while pursuing a foul pop fly for the final out of the game. Franco is tied for fourth on the team with nine home runs and is third with 42 RBIs.
Hyde said Franco “rolled it pretty good” and would undergo a precautionary X-ray.
–Field Level Media