Indianapolis Star
Major League Baseball
Preview
Baltimore at Atlanta
When: 7:35 PM ET, Friday, June 22, 2018
Where: SunTrust Park, Cumberland, Georgia

The Baltimore Orioles arrive in the Peach State for a three-game interleague series against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, a matchup of two teams on the opposite ends of the baseball spectrum. Baltimore comes to town owning baseball’s worst record at 21-52 and begins the set 29 ½ games out of first place in the American League East, while the Braves – baseball’s biggest surprise so far in 2018 – leads the National League East by three games as they have won six of their last eight.

The Braves lost 90 games each of the last three years but are on pace for a 95-win season, thanks to the emergence of several young players – including Sean Newcomb, who will start the series opener – and outstanding campaigns from veterans like Nick Markakis and Freddie Freeman. Atlanta has been great in close games, going 11-5 in one-run contests and winning nine times in its last at-bat. The Orioles are enduring their worst season since finishing 54-107 in 1988, losing for the 11th time in their last 13 games with Thursday’s 4-2 setback at Washington. Right fielder Colby Rasmus returned from the disabled list Thursday and finished 1-for-3 with a solo homer in his first contest since April 6.

TV: 7:35 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Baltimore), FS South (Atlanta)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Alex Cobb (2-9, 7.14 ERA) vs. Braves LH Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.70)

Cobb signed a four-year deal with the Orioles late in spring training but has endured a miserable first season, posting a 1.71 WHIP while allowing 13.1 hits per nine innings. The 30-year-old has surrendered 14 runs and 18 hits - four homers - over 10 2/3 frames in his last two turns, losses to Toronto and Miami. Cobb, who won his only career start against the Braves in 2012, has received just 3.17 runs of support in his 12 outings this season.

The 25-year-old Newcomb has emerged as a bona fide All-Star candidate in his first full major-league season, entering Thursday third in the NL in wins and hits per nine innings (6.5), and seventh in ERA. The native of Massachusetts rebounded from a rare subpar performance with another gem Saturday at San Diego, giving up two hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in six scoreless innings. Newcomb has not allowed an earned run in six of his 14 starts.

WALK-OFFS

1. Baltimore SS Manny Machado finished 1-for-4 Thursday and has recorded at least one hit in 55 of his 72 games this season.

2. Atlanta OF Ronald Acuna Jr. (knee) is expected to start a rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Gwinnett.

3. Orioles 1B Mark Trumbo went deep Thursday, belting his third homer in four games.

PREDICTION: Braves 6, Orioles 1
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Baltimore 21-52 L1 11-23 10-29 9-23 8-12 0-9 4-8
Atlanta 43-30 L1 21-13 22-17 27-14 5-4 7-9 4-3
Last Meeting
Baltimore Atlanta
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/29/15 ATL 0 BAL 2 .214 2 .731 .133 0 .300
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Baltimore N/A
Atlanta N/A
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Baltimore P. Araujo 0 0 0
Atlanta R. Acuna Jr. 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Baltimore 0.00 .000 0
Atlanta 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Baltimore M. Machado .304 85 .923
Atlanta F. Freeman .332 93 .999
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Baltimore M. Machado 18 33 53
Atlanta O. Albies 16 53 42
Pitching ERA Avg K
Baltimore 4.86 .227 572
Atlanta 3.58 .258 652