For several reasons, a mini-rivalry has been brewing throughout the 2023 season between the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners. From naming their closer Félix Bautista “King Felix” to trying to claim fun differential, fans of Seattle have pointed out their lack of original identity.
Fighting for their identity, the Orioles are coming to town for a three-game set that will feature electric pitching from both sides and the Mariners specifically. With the O’s sitting at 70-44 and atop the AL East standings and the AL as a whole, assuming Seattle keeps their momentum into a playoff spot, this is also potentially a playoff preview.
Game 1: Luis Castillo vs. Kyle Gibson
Castillo has been the ace of the staff all season for a reason. Getting the ball first in a big series is exactly where he thrives. On the year, he is now 7-7 with a 3.21 ERA and 155 strikeouts over 137.1 innings.
Gibson, on the other hand, is no slouch, with an 11-6 record and a 4.50 ERA. He is not a high-volume strikeout guy like Castillo, but he is enjoying likely the third-best season of his over a decade-long career.
Game 2: George Kirby vs. TBD
No matter who opposes Kirby in game two will have their work cut out for them, as the righty has gone from a super promising rookie in 2022 to one of the best pitchers in the game in 2023, fighting Castillo for the crown of the ace of the staff.
He is tied for second in MLB in quality starts with his 16, and his most recent outing against the Los Angeles Angels was electric. He went 7.0 innings while giving up just three hits and one run, making his season record 10-8 and bringing his ERA down to 3.32.
Game 3: Bryce Miller vs. Kyle Bradish
Rounding out the series is the best pitcher that the O’s will throw out, as Bradish sports a 3.16 ERA over 115.2 innings in his second year in the MLB.
For the Mariners, Miller obviously had his historic start. Maintaining a 4.20 ERA proves that was not a fluke, and he is a bonafide MLB starter. Hopefully, the Mariners will have won the first two games and Miller will be in line to lock down the sweep, regardless he is in a good position in his home ballpark.
Batters to watch:
Cade Marlowe - Since making his debut, Marlow has been everything and then some. In his first 39 at-bats, he has 12 hits, two home runs and a .977 OPS. Whenever he is in the lineup, he provides an extra fun bat will great production so far.
Cal Raliegh - Big Dumper is in the midst of his best stretch in the season, and he just made a statement with his big home run against the San Diego Padres. The HR was his 19th of the season and his OPS+ is now 111, but even better, he has a .871 OPS in August.
Julio Rodríquez - Julio has finally arrived. His defense has been amazing, especially recently, and now his bat is here. In August, he has a .921 OPS and already has tallied 17 total bases, well on his way to the best month of the season in his sophomore campaign.