New on Sports Illustrated: Orioles, Mets going in opposite directions as they wrap series

September 02, 2020 at 12:34PM

Orioles, Mets going in opposite directions as they wrap series

The Baltimore Orioles appear to have left a five-game losing streak in their rearview mirror by winning their last two outings.

The Orioles (16-19) aim for their longest winning streak since a six-game run last month when they vie for a two-game sweep of their abbreviated interleague series against the visiting New York Mets (15-21) on Wednesday.

Renato Nunez recorded his second two-homer performance of the season and Anthony Santander also went deep and drove in three runs in Baltimore's 9-5 victory on Tuesday.

After the game, Nunez was quick to note that Santander has heated up while using his bats.

"I think he got hot with a white bat maybe two weeks ago, maybe three. So he's been swinging my bats. I don't mind. He can keep doing it," Nunez said.

Nunez also said he was pleased that his good work is starting to pay dividends. The 26-year-old was mired in a 3-for-19 stretch with seven strikeouts in a five-game span before Tuesday's power surge.

"I feel like I was putting some good swings the last couple days and nothing," Nunez said. "It's just the work I've been putting in every single day with the hitting coach (Don Long) and you've got to make adjustments, so that's what I'm trying to do."

While Baltimore has taken a few modest steps toward getting back on track, New York has dropped five in a row for the second time this season. The Mets also lost five straight from July 29-Aug. 2.

Robinson Cano has homered in two straight games and in three of his last four. Jeff McNeil is swinging a hot bat by going 8-for-18 with four doubles in his last five contests.

New York hopes the recent trade acquisitions Robinson Chirinos, former Met Todd Frazier and reliever Miguel Castro can change its recent fortunes.

"We're not playing great baseball right now and we need to boost ourselves," Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. "So hopefully these players can give us that opportunity."

"Robinson definitely brings a lot of experience," New York manager Luis Rojas said on Tuesday. "We'll see him getting some playing time as well. He brings a lot to the table. This is a guy that is a really good defensive catcher. He hits for some power for a catcher. ... Can't wait to see him, have him in uniform ready to go, and see him perform for us."

The Mets will also get another look at Frazier, who belted 39 homers for the club over two seasons in 2018 and 2019. He had just two in 31 games with Texas in 2020 after signing with the Rangers in January.

New York right-hander Michael Wacha (1-2, 7.41 ERA) will get the nod on Wednesday after struggling in his return from the injured list. The 29-year-old allowed four runs in three innings of a no-decision against the Yankees on Friday.

Wacha, who has a 9.75 ERA in his last three starts, will face Baltimore for the first time in his career.

Baltimore left-hander John Means (0-2, 8.59 ERA) will provide the opposition on Wednesday. Means has surrendered two homers in back-to-back starts, including the Orioles' 5-4 setback in 10 innings against Toronto on Friday.

Means, 27, will also be getting his first look at the Mets in his career.

--Field Level Media

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