Orioles at Astros Preview

Featured, Sports and Bets — May 30, 2014 at 5:11 pm by

The less that can be said about last night’s, 3-1 loss, the better. It was very disappointing to see such an uninspiring offensive effort against such a mediocre pitcher. The loss dropped the O’s to 26-26, making them a .500 club for the first time since April 27.

charlie

Starting Pitchers

Miguel Gonzalez RHP (3-3, 4.35 ERA) vs. Brett Oberholtzer LHP (1-6, 5.32 ERA)

Gonzalez will take the mound tonight to try to put an end to the Birds three-game losing streak. After a rough start to the season, it looks like Gonzalez might be in the process of turning the corner. Over his last three starts, Gonzalez has a 2.84 ERA with 17 strikeouts over 19 innings. One of those starts came against the Astros, and Gonzalez pitched a beauty. He allowed two runs on six hits and two walks, with six strikeouts over seven innings.

Oberholtzer is looking to build off his last start, which was easily one of his better efforts on the season. He allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk, with eight strikeouts over six innings. Oberholtzer has been much worse at home this season, posting a 9.64 ERA over three starts, compared to a 3.30 ERA over five road starts.

 Lineups

Orioles

  1. Nick Markakis RF
  2. Steve Pearce LF
  3. Nelson Cruz DH
  4. Adam Jones CF
  5. Chris Davis 1B
  6. J.J. Hardy SS
  7. Manny Machado 3B
  8. Jonathan Schoop 2B
  9. Caleb Joseph C

Astros

  1. Jose Altuve 2B
  2. George Springer RF
  3. Dexter Fowler CF
  4. Jason Castro C
  5. Matt Dominguez 3B
  6. Chris Carter 1B
  7. Alex Presley DH
  8. Robbie Grossman LF
  9. Jonathan Villar SS

Matchups to Watch

Gonzalez has been solid against the Astros over his career. In three starts, he’s 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA with 18 strikeouts over 16 2/3 innings. He does have a 1.50 WHIP over these starts, so he’s been able to pitch out of a few jams to keep that ERA from ballooning. Current Astros have hit Gonzalez very well over his career, slashing .333/.396/.604 with three home runs over 48 at-bats against the righty. Castro is 4-for-8 with a home run, Dominguez is 4-for-7, Springer is 2-for-3 with a home run, and Grossman is 1-for-2 with a home run. Pitching to Springer just isn’t fair right now; he now has seven homers and 15 RBIs in his last seven games.

Oberholtzer has only faced the Birds once, and things couldn’t have gone worse for the good guys. Oberholtzer pitched seven shutout innings, striking out six and giving up only three this, en route to an 11-0 win for the Astros. The current Oriole numbers against Oberholtzer reflect that impressive outing, as they are only 3-for-17 off the lefty. Although the O’s have struggled against lefties as a team, that is certainly not the case when it comes to Jones and Cruz. Jones leads the MLB in batting average against lefties and is 4th in OPS. Cruz is 16th in batting average and 2nd in OPS.

The Astros love to be aggressive on the basepaths. They are 3rd in the MLB in steals and tied for 7th in success rate. They demonstrated these tendencies last night, going 2-for-2 on steals. Both steals were from Altuve, who is now 2nd in the MLB in swiped bags. The Orioles have only thrown out 9 of 38 runners for a 19% caught stealing rate, which is tied for 22nd in the MLB. Nick Hundley has been solid at throwing out runners throughout his career, posting a 28% caught stealing rate. However, he’s only been 1-for-5 with the O’s, and 1-for-14 on the season throwing out runners. Joseph has thrown out 34% of runners in the minors and is 4-for-10 this season, but his offense has been so atrocious that he can’t be an everyday player right now. Quite simply, the O’s pitchers and Hundley have to get better at limiting the running game, and keeping the speedy Astros at bay for the rest of the series would be a damn good start.

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