ALCS Game 4 Preview: Orioles at Royals

Sports and Bets — October 15, 2014 at 3:20 pm by

The Birds’ season is on life support right now. After last night’s loss, the O’s need to win four straight to advance to the World Series. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the “Orioles are the 34th team to fall behind 3-0 in a best-of-7 series. Only one to win the series: 2004 Red Sox (ALCS vs Yankees).” The odds are clearly not in the Birds’ favor. But hey, if those slapdicks in Boston can do it, anything’s possible. It’s time to bust out the biggest dose of Orioles Magic that baseball has ever seen, babes. 

ALCS Game 4: Today at 4:07 PM on TBS
Miguel Gonzalez RHP (10-9) vs. Jason Vargas LHP (11-10)
Gonzalez’s Season Stats: 159 IP, 111 Ks, 3.23 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
Gonzalez’s Last Three Starts: 1-2, 16.2 IP, 10 Ks, 3.24 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
Vargas’ Season Stats: 187 IP, 128 Ks, 3.71 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
Vargas’ Last Three Starts: 0-1, 13.1 IP, 4 Ks, 7.43 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Vargas’ 2014 Postseason Stats: 1 GS, 0-0, 6 IP, 2 Ks, 3.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP

This will be Gonzalez’s first start since Sept. 28, and his second career playoff start. His first postseason start was a beauty, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits while striking out eight over seven innings in the 2012 ALDS. Gonzalez would love to replicate an outing like that against a Royals team that has given him trouble over the years. In three career starts against Kansas City, Gonzalez is 1-2 with a 4.82 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, and he’s struck out nine batters over 18.2 innings. This season, Gonzalez took the loss in his only start against the Royals. He allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk while striking out four over six innings.

Like Gonzalez, this will be Vargas’ second career playoff start. Vargas’ first postseason start came against the Angels in the ALDS, and he pitched very well in a no-decision. Vargas has an impressive track record against the O’s. In eight career starts against the Birds, Vargas has gone 2-3 with a 1.94 ERA and 1.04 WHIP while striking out 27 batters over 55.2 innings. This will be Vargas’ first time facing the O’s this season. Vargas has really struggled to pitch effectively in Kauffman Stadium in his first year with the club. In 16 home starts, Vargas has a 4.53 ERA, compared to a 2.73 ERA in 14 road starts.

Orioles Lineup with Career Numbers vs. Vargas
RF Nick Markakis (L) – 5-for-25 with a HR
1B Steve Pearce (R) – 1-for-5
CF Adam Jones (R) – 5-for-27
LF Nelson Cruz (R) – 10-for-30 with 4 HRs
DH Delmon Young (R) – 7-for-18
SS J.J. Hardy (R) – 4-for-16
C Caleb Joseph (R) – N/A
3B Ryan Flaherty (L) – 2-for-4
2B Jonathan Schoop (R) – N/A

Royals Lineup with Career Numbers vs. Gonzalez
SS Alcides Escobar (R) – 1-for-7
RF Nori Aoki (L) – 1-for-3
CF Lorenzo Cain (R) – N/A
1B Eric Hosmer (L) – 1-for-9
DH Billy Butler (R) – 1-for-8
LF Alex Gordon (L) – 1-for-8
C Salvador Perez (R) – 4-for-9 with a HR
2B Omar Infante (R) – 1-for-6
3B Mike Moustakas (L) – 0-for-7

Strengths to Watch

  • Lorenzo Cain – In this series, Cain is now 8-for-12 with two walks, an RBI, five runs scored, and a steal. Both of his hits last night were on softly hit jam shots. I’m convinced that this dude sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the run that he’s currently on.
  • Delmon Young – Young is a career .302/.338/.467 hitter against lefties. This postseason, Young is 2-for-5 with four RBIs. I’m shocked and disappointed that Buck hasn’t found a way to get Young more at-bats this series. Better late than never, I guess.

Weakness to Watch

  • Orioles’ Slumping Offense – In the first two games of this series, the Birds couldn’t break through with the big hit. Last night, they didn’t hit a fucking lick. They scored only one run on three hits, with none of them coming after the 3rd inning. The O’s have gotta wake up the bats if they are going to live to play another day.

Why not us? Let’s go O’s!

cover pic: Fantasy Furnace

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