Strugglers square off when Baltimore Orioles host New York Mets



BALTIMORE — The New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles have some storied history with each other, having played in the 1969 World Series.

However, both teams have set their sights firmly on the future after struggling throughout much of this season.

Baltimore and New York open a two-game series Tuesday at Camden Yards. The Orioles won both games against the Mets on June 5-6 at Citi Field.

The Orioles have been in last place in the American League East for much of the season and trail the first-place Boston Red Sox by a whopping 49.5 games. The Mets have not fared much better and are mired in fourth place in the National League East, 15.5 games behind the leaders.

Baltimore has already started the youth movement, dealing infielders Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, right-handers Kevin Gausman, Brad Brach and Darren O’Day and left-handed closer Zach Britton before the non-waiver trade deadline.

The Orioles hope some of their younger players, such as outfielders Cedric Mullins and Trey Mancini, can continue their development as the franchise tries to successfully rebuild.

“Saying goodbye to all those guys was tough,” Mancini said. “But like we’ve been saying, that’s how the business works. The year hasn’t gone our way, it hasn’t gone how we wanted it to. You have to move on. But it was a tough day. Tough to say goodbye to guys that you’re really good friends with and see every day.”

Andrew Cashner will start the opener for Baltimore, which has lost five straight games and nine of its past 11. In his last start, Cashner allowed three runs (one earned) and four hits in seven innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. He retired 18 of 19 batters after giving two runs in the first inning.

“I think it’s very important to know who you are as a pitcher,” Cashner said. “Would I like to be a strikeout pitcher? Yes. But I think for me to stay healthy, it’s sink the ball on both sides of the plate, change speeds and try to get them out up in the zone.”

Cashner has struggled against the Mets in his career, going 0-3 with a 6.18 ERA in nine appearances, including four starts.

The Mets will counter with Jason Vargas (2-8, 8.75 ERA). He has lost his last five decisions. Vargas gave up three runs and three hits in 1/3 inning in his last start against the Cincinnati Reds. There was a two-hour rain delay in the first inning that cut his start short.

Despite the struggles, the Mets remain upbeat about Vargas and that he can be a viable part of their pitching staff.

“I think we all feel confident that Jason, when he gets going and gets on a good schedule, he’s going to be competitive,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “That’s one of the reasons we signed him. I think it’s necessary in the fact that we need him to be built up as many innings-wise so he can go out next year and haul a bunch of innings for us.”

Vargas is 2-5 with a 2.33 ERA in 10 career starts against Baltimore.

The Mets received some good news about third baseman David Wright, who did not have any setbacks in his first rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie. He has played just 75 games since 2015 after dealing with neck, back and shoulder injuries.



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