The Baltimore Orioles believe they’re in the race for an American League wild card spot, and can prove it with a good showing this weekend. The Orioles will try to make up some ground Friday when they host the Los Angeles Angels in the opener of a three-game series.
The Angels don’t have far to travel after splitting a two-game interleague series in Washington against the Nationals this week, and Wednesday’s 3-2 triumph sent them into the weekend with a half-game lead in the race for the second AL wild card. Baltimore sits three games behind Los Angeles and is trying to fight its way out of a slump with a pitching staff that is struggling to put together consistent performances. The Orioles are 3-6 in their last nine games and needed to score at least seven runs to notch each of those victories. One of those recent poor pitching performances came from right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who will try to bounce back Friday when he goes up against Angels lefty and Tommy John success story Andrew Heaney.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), MASN (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels LH Andrew Heaney (2016: 0-1, 6.00 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Jeremy Hellickson (7-7, 4.70)
Heaney injured his elbow in his first 2016 start and underwent Tommy John surgery last July before going through a rehab that brought him back to a major league mound just over a year later ”It’s a remarkable process he went through on his rehab,“ Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters. ”It was so seamless that he just went from one stage to another all the way through it. He feels terrific.” The 26-year-old Heaney went 6-4 with a 3.49 ERA in 18 starts in 2015, including a season-high 10 hits allowed over 5 2/3 innings during a no decision against Baltimore on Aug. 7.
Hellickson tossed seven scoreless innings in his Orioles debut on Aug. 2 after being acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies and posted a quality start in his second turn before getting knocked around last time out. The 30-year-old was ripped for six runs on five hits and a pair of walks over five innings at Oakland on Sunday. Hellickson suffered a loss at the Angels on Aug. 8 despite allowing only three runs in six frames.
1. The Orioles activated OF Anthony Santander from the 60-day disabled list and optioned OF Joey Rickard to Triple-A Norfolk.
2. Los Angeles CF Mike Trout is 3-for-15 without an extra-base hit in the last five games.
3. Baltimore SS Tim Beckham is batting .485 with five home runs, 17 runs scored and 12 RBIs in 16 games since joining the team at the trade deadline.
PREDICTION: Angels 6, Orioles 4