The Baltimore Orioles’ road back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 is off to a 7-6 start entering Friday’s road tilt against the Chicago White Sox — but their bullpen is in need of some rest.
Baltimore Orioles (-125, 9) vs. Chicago White Sox
The White Sox had a day off on Thursday to reset a bullpen that is currently last in ERA while the Orioles have had to get at least 4 2/3 innings out of their bullpen each of the past three days and are playing for the eighth straight day on Friday.
A quality start would be a welcome sign for the Orioles, who will look to Tyler Wells to deliver. Wells is issuing just 2.1 walks per nine innings to prevent his pitch count from getting elevated.
Wells’ primary issue is although he has good command, he allows a ton of contact, getting just 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings with a 4.16 ERA and 1.4 home runs per nine innings allowed since the start of the 2022 season.
The White Sox counter with Mike Clevinger, who is looking to get back the form he had with Cleveland before Tommy John surgery.
Clevinger was 13-4 with a 2.71 ERA and 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings while pitching for Cleveland in 2019 before needing surgery after making eight starts during the 2020 season.
For many pitchers, season number two coming off of Tommy John surgery is when they return to their normal forms, and after posting a 4.33 ERA last season with 1.6 home runs per nine innings as a member of the San Diego Padres, he has led the White Sox to wins in his first two starts with a 3.48 ERA and has allowed zero home runs in his 10 1/3 innings pitched.
Clevinger is backed up by a lineup that is third in the American League in batting average at .263 with only the undefeated Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays having a higher average while the Orioles have allowed in nine of their first 13 games of the season.
With Clevinger getting closer to peak form and the Orioles coming off of surrendering 20 runs over the past three games against the Oakland Athletics, the White Sox will open the series with a win.
The Play: White Sox +105