The Miami Marlins will face off against the Baltimore Orioles a total of four times in 2020.
It’s all going to happen pretty fast. The Miami Marlins open their season with three games on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies starting next Friday. Immediately following that, they’ll host the Baltimore Orioles twice on that Monday and Tuesday, then visit for two games in Baltimore on Wednesday and Thursday.
Baltimore is coming off a 54-108 season in 2019, and just one of two teams to finish worse off than the Marlins 57-105 mark. The Orioles have made the playoffs 14 times in their 119 season history, and have taken home three World Series Championships.
To wit, the Orioles swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1966 in four games, then defeated the Cincinnati Reds in five games in 1970. In 1983, the Cal Ripken-led Orioles topped the Phillies in five games.
Since then, Baltimore has been to the playoffs five times, losing in the ALCS in 1996 and in 1997. They lost the LDS in 2012, lost another ALCS in 2014, and lost the AL Wildcard game in 2016. After dropping that Wildcard contest, the Orioles have put together a 176-310 record for a .362 winning percentage.
Holdovers from the 2019 starting rotation include John Means, who somehow wound up with a winning record at 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA. His solid 1.135 WHIP and only 38 walks in 155 innings would seem to place him in solid contention for “ace” of the staff.
Asher Wojciechowski (4-8, 4.92, 1.312 WHIP) also returns, as does Alex Cobb, who missed most of 2019. The other four pitchers in the running for the five man staff are all relatively fresh faces. Wade LeBlanc, who will be 36-years-old in three weeks, will be the eighth major league team he appears for, including 38 games for the Miami Marlins in 2012 and 2013.
Kohl Stewart joins the Orioles from the Minnesota Twins organization. Like Cobb, Tommy Milone arrives via the Seattle Mariners, and Hector Velazquez comes to Baltimore from the Boston Red Sox.
Lineups.com has the Orioles probable starting nine. First basemen Chris Davis and third baseman Rio Ruiz bat from the left, and left fielder Anthony Santander is a switch hitter. The other six bats in the lineup line up in the right-handed batter’s box.
Second baseman Hanser Alberto, catcher Pedro Severino, center fielder Austin Hays, right fielder Trey Mancini, shortstop Jose Iglesias, and designated hitter Renato Nunez round out the order. They’ll maybe shake out something like this:
2B Hanser Alberto
LF Anthony Santander
RF Trey Mancini
DH Renato Nunez
CF Austin Hays
C Pedro Severino
1B Chris Davis
3B Rio Ruiz
SS Jose Iglesias
Mancini is probably the best hitter from amongst the starting nine, with a 2019 slash line of .291/.364/.535 to lead Baltimore in each category from amongst qualified players. Davis, now 34, is clearly a shell of his former self. The big power hitter hit just .179/.276/.326 last season, which was actually a step up from his 2018 figures.
With four games comprising roughly seven percent of the season, the impact of the Orioles games against the Miami Marlins will weigh more heavily, respectively, on the overall win-loss record for both teams than in “normal” seasons. If the Marlins have one opponent on their schedule that they may be able to complete a sweep of, it’s the Orioles. I’ll predict three-wins-in-four.
With yesterday’s prediction of four victories in 10 games against the Atlanta Braves, that puts the Marlins at 7-7 with 14 games in the bank. Check back tomorrow to get a closer look at the Boston Red Sox.