Surging O’s take aim at Cards, fourth straight win
The surging Baltimore Orioles will try to keep their offense rolling when they continue their road series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
The Orioles defeated the Cardinals 5-3 in the opener of the three-game set at Busch Stadium on Tuesday.
After scoring just 62 runs in April, the Orioles have 45 in May. They come into this game leading the American League with a .293 team batting average this month.
The Orioles, who finished 52-110 last season, opened this season by losing 14 of 20 games. But they have won seven of their last 10 after catching fire at the plate.
“It’s just a little bit different this year,” Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini told MASN. “These guys have been here for a while and they know they belong. So instead of trying to make a name for themselves or stay here, they know they belong. Now it’s kind of go time.
“A lot of guys are showing they belong here. It’s awesome to see.”
During a 10-game homestand the Orioles won two of three from the Boston Red Sox, split four games with the Minnesota Twins and took two of three against the Kansas City Royals.
“That’s what our goal is, to probably win every series,” said Orioles manager Brandon Hyde. “On the homestand we split with a good club in the Twins and won two series. Happy with how we played.”
The Orioles will start Spenser Watkins (0-0, 3.22 ERA), who has yet to work more than five innings this season. In his last outing, Watkins allowed three runs on seven hits, two walks and a hit batter in 4 2/3 innings during a 5-3 victory over the Twins.
Watkins, who signed as a minor league free agent with the Orioles last season, will make his first career outing against the Cardinals.
The Cardinals have lost three straight games. They will start Miles Mikolas (2-1, 1.53 ERA) after having Packy Naughton fill in Tuesday with Adam Wainwright still in COVID-19 protocols.
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol elected to give Mikolas a fifth day of rest instead of having him fill in for Wainwright.
“We were in a pretty good stretch of games there where it was 20 in a row and then 34 in 35,” Marmol said. “This early, giving that extra day of rest, playing the long game was more important to us than getting Miles a start (Tuesday).”
Naughton lasted just 3 1/3 innings Tuesday, forcing Marmol to handle his bullpen carefully.
“Matchups went out the window as you’re trying to stay fresh for tomorrow,” Marmol said.
Mikolas has allowed two runs or fewer in each start and worked five or more innings in his last five. He earned a 5-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants in his last start despite allowing seven hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings.
“On a personal level, I feel like I was a little all over the place, all over the zone,” he said. “Everything they hit hard was an out and everything they hit soft kind of got through. So, that was an odd day.”
Mikolas has made one career start against the Orioles. He allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media