ALCS Game 3 Preview: Orioles at Royals

Sports and Bets — October 14, 2014 at 7:15 pm by

Quite frankly, the O’s are in a real shitty spot right now. Their bullpen has faltered, their starters have been awful, and their offense has failed to come up with the big hit. Add the fact that no team in LCS history has advanced after falling behind 0-2 at home, and it’s easy to think that the Birds are done for. Not so fast, babes. Despite all the miscues that the O’s made, they were in both games till the bitter end. A couple more plays here and there and the Birds could be up 2-0, instead of being down 0-2. I’m thinking that tonight’s the start of the Birds tightening things up, and getting back to their winning ways. Don’t lose the faith just yet. As Tour Champion Happy Gilmore once said, “It ain’t over yet, McGavin. The way I see it, we’ve only just begun.”

Game 3: Today at 8:07 PM on TBS
Wei-Yin Chen LHP (16-6) vs. Jeremy Guthrie RHP (13-11)
Chen’s Season Stats: 185.2 IP, 136 Ks, 3.54 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
Chen’s Last Three Starts: 0-2, 15.2 IP, 10 Ks, 5.17 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
Chen’s 2014 Postseason Stats: 1 GS, 0-0, 3.2 IP, 3 Ks, 12.27 ERA, 1.91 WHIP
Guthrie’s Season Stats: 202.2 IP, 124 Ks, 4.13 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
Guthrie’s Last Three Starts: 3-0, 20.1 IP, 10 Ks, 0.44 ERA, 0.79 WHIP

Chen will look to bounce back from a horrid outing against the Tigers, and help right the ship for the Birds. It certainly won’t be an easy task as this Royals team is really cooking with gas, and Chen has been pretty mediocre against Kansas City over his career. In six starts, Chen is 1-1 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.42 WHIP, and has struck out 22 batters over 36.2 innings. Chen has been much better against the Royals this season, going 1-0 in two starts with a 2.19 ERA and 1.54 WHIP while striking out seven batters over 12.1 innings. Chen has also been very effective in his two career starts at Kauffman Stadium, going 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA and 1.18 WHIP while striking out four batters over 12.2 innings. Chen and Guthrie actually faced off on April 26, with the Birds winning 3-2 on a walk-off 10th inning single from Nick Markakis. Let’s hope for more of the same tonight.

Making his first career playoff start will be former Oriole and class act, Jeremy Guthrie. I’ve always been a big Guthrie fan, and I’m glad that he’s finally a member of a playoff team. God knows that he deserves it after being one of the few bright spots on some dogshit Oriole teams. Having said that, I hope the O’s put up a 10 spot on him in the first inning. No offense, Guts. You’re just standing on the tracks when the Bucktruck’s coming through. Jumping on Guthrie early seems like the most practical way to put some runs on the board, as well. Check out this tweet from ESPN Stats & Info…

I may not know much in this world, but I do know that you can’t argue with bar graphs. That’s just science. Guthrie has given the Birds trouble over his career, going 2-1 in four starts with a 2.67 ERA and 1.22 WHIP while striking out 13 batters over 27 innings. This season, Guthrie went 0-1 in two starts against the O’s with a 3.60 ERA and 1.07 WHIP while striking out five batters over 15 innings. Guthrie was also terrific down the stretch, going 3-1 in five September starts with a 2.40 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.

Orioles Lineup with Career Numbers vs. Guthrie
RF Nick Markakis (L) – 3-for-12
LF Alejandro De Aza (L) – 8-for-32
CF Adam Jones (R) – 1-for-12
DH Nelson Cruz (R) – 6-for-24
1B Steve Pearce (R) – N/A
SS J.J. Hardy (R) – 3-for-14
3B Ryan Flaherty (L) – 2-for-8
C Nick Hundley (R) – 2-for-5
2B Jonathan Schoop (R) – 1-for-3

Royals Lineup with Career Numbers vs. Chen
SS Alcides Escobar (R) – 5-for-17
RF Nori Aoki (L) – 2-for-7
CF Lorenzo Cain (R) – 4-for-12
1B Eric Hosmer (L) – 7-for-17 with 2 HRs
DH Billy Butler (R) – 8-for-18 with 2 HRs
LF Alex Gordon (L) – 5-for-16 with a HR
C Salvador Perez (R) – 2-for-13
2B Omar Infante (R) – 1-for-6 with a HR
3B Mike Moustakas (L) – 2-for-6

Strengths to Watch

  • Nelson Cruz – Cruz is playing like a man possessed right now. He set a record by starting the postseason with five consecutive multi-hit games (Roch Kubatko). Through five playoff games, Cruz is slashing .476/.500/.810 with two HRs, seven RBIs, and five runs scored.
  • Lorenzo Cain – This guy has been a real thorn in the O’s side through the first two games of this series. He’s batting a slow pitch softball-esque .750/.800/1.000 with an RBI, four runs scored, and a steal. He’s also made two nice catches in the outfield to rob J.J. Hardy of base hits.
  • Mike Moustakas – For no apparent reason, Moustakas has transformed from a bust to Babe fucking Ruth this postseason. After 514 regular season games in the big leagues, the first round pick was a .236/.290/.379 hitter with 52 home runs. Through six playoff games, Moustakas is batting .318/.348/.864 with four HRs, five RBIs, and six runs scored. Against the O’s, Moustakas is hitting .375/.375/1.125 with two HRs, three RBIs, and two runs scored.

Weaknesses to Watch

  • Orioles’ Starting Pitching – The Birds’ bullpen hasn’t been sharp over these first two games, posting a 4.35 ERA over 10.1 innings. But their starting pitching has been absolutely dreadful. Chris Tillman and Bud Norris combined to pitch only 8.2 innings while recording a 9.35 ERA.
  • Orioles Stranding Runners – The O’s have left 20 runners on base through two games against the Royals. They have managed to go 8-for-22 with runners in scoring position, so their offense hasn’t been absent by any stretch. On numerous occasions, the Birds have been just one hit short of having a big inning.

The turnaround begins tonight. Let’s go O’s!

cover pic: CSN Baltimore

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