Orioles at Blue Jays Series Preview

Sports and Bets — June 19, 2015 at 6:52 pm by

This is a big one, folks. The 4th place O’s are battling the 3rd place Blue Jays in a three-game series featuring two red hot divisional rivals. The Jays have won 13 of their last 15, including an 11-game winning streak, while the Birds have won 11 of their last 14, including a six-game winning streak. On paper, it looks like this series could produce three hotly contested slugfests. Let’s bring out the bats and mash these Canadian jabronis! USA! USA! USA!

The Breakdown
Baltimore Orioles (34-32) at Toronto Blue Jays (36-32)
Season Series: Toronto leads 6-3
Last 10 Games: Baltimore’s 8-2, Toronto’s 8-2
Runs: Baltimore’s tied for 6th, Toronto’s 1st
Home Runs: Baltimore’s 4th, Toronto’s tied for 2nd
Batting Average: Baltimore’s 10th, Toronto’s 3rd
On-Base Percentage: Baltimore’s 18th, Toronto’s 1st
Team ERA: Baltimore’s 11th, Toronto’s 22nd
Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 20th, Toronto’s 26th
Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 5th, Toronto’s 12th
Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s tied for 3rd, Toronto’s tied for 9th

Baltimore’s Injury Report
P Jason Garcia: 15-day DL (right shoulder)
P Miguel Gonzalez: 15-day DL (right groin; currently on rehab assignment)
P Wesley Wright: 60-day DL (left shoulder)
INF Jonathan Schoop: 60-day DL (right knee; currently on rehab assignment)

Toronto’s Injury Report
P R.A. Dickey: Bereavement List
P Aaron Sanchez: 15-day DL (right lat)
P Marcus Stroman: 60-day DL (ACL; out for season)
INF Maicer Izturis: 60-day DL (groin)
INF Steve Tolleson: 15-day DL (groin; currently on rehab assignment)
INF Devon Travis: 15-day DL (left shoulder; currently on rehab assignment)
OF Michael Saunders: 15-day DL (left knee)

Friday, June 19 at 7:07 p.m. on MASN & MLBN
RHP Mike Wright (2-2) vs. RHP Marco Estrada (4-3)
Wright’s 2015: 5 GS, 28.1 IP, 18 Ks, 4.13 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Wright’s Last Three Starts: 1-2, 14 IP, 8 Ks, 8.36 ERA, 1.71 WHIP
Estrada’s 2015: 14 G, 8 GS, 57.1 IP, 47 Ks, 4.24 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
Estrada’s Last Three Starts: 3-0, 18 IP, 14 Ks, 5.00 ERA, 1.39 WHIP

This will be Wright’s first time facing the Blue Jays or any of their hitters, and hopefully, he can pitch well enough to keep the O’s in the game. This Jays lineup is a fucking wrecking crew, babes. After a scintillating start to his pro career, Wright has came back down to earth. He’s failed to pitch more than five innings or give up less than three runs in any of his last three starts. In his last start, he took the loss against the Yankees after giving up five runs on six hits and three walks while striking out two over four innings. It’s been tough sledding for the 25-year-old. Offenses are treating him like Will Smith greeted that ugly ass alien.

Taking the bump for the Jays in the series opener is Marco Estrada. Estrada is a fly ball pitcher, who’s given up fly balls 42.3% of the time this season and 45.6% of the time for his career. Fortunately for the O’s, a lot of these fly balls find their way into the bleachers. Estrada has averaged 1.4 home runs per nine innings over his career, and in 2014, he lead the MLB by giving up 29 homers in just 150.2 innings. This season, the 31-year-old has given up eight homers over 57.1 innings. Estrada has gone 0-1 in one career start (three appearances) against the Birds with a 5.14 ERA and 1.29 WHIP while striking out seven batters and giving up three home runs over seven innings. Estrada had never faced the O’s until the 2015 season.

Good News: J.J. Hardy is working on an 11-game hit streak. He’s batting .390 with 7 runs scored and 6 RBIs over his last 11 games. Steve Pearce is 3-for-9, Jimmy Paredes is 2-for-5, Chris Davis is 1-for-3 with a HR, Manny Machado is 1-for-3 with a HR, Chris Parmelee is 1-for-3, and David Lough is 1-for-2 off Estrada.

Bad News: Travis Snider is 1-for-12, Delmon Young is 0-for-4, Adam Jones is 0-for-3, Hardy is 0-for-2, Caleb Joseph is 0-for-2, and Ryan Flaherty is 0-for-1 off Estrada. This season, dickhead extraordinaire Jose Bautista is hitting .292/.370/.625 with 2 HRs, 8 runs scored, and 6 RBIs in 7 games against the Birds.

Saturday, June 20 at 1:07 p.m. on MASN, MLBN, & WJZ
RHP Kevin Gausman (1-0) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (7-4)
Gausman’s 2015: 8 G, 12 IP, 13 Ks, 4.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
Buehrle’s 2015: 13 GS, 85.1 IP, 40 Ks, 4.01 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Buehrle’s Last Three Starts: 1-0, 22 IP, 10 Ks, 1.23 ERA, 0.95 WHIP

Gausman will be making his first start of 2015 and it’s about God damn time! Gausman began the season in the bullpen, and he hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since May 6 due to tendinitis in his right shoulder. He only threw 8.1 innings over three rehab starts, so it will be interesting to see how many pitches he’ll be able to throw. In two career starts (seven appearances) against Toronto, Gausman is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA and 1.56 WHIP, and he’s struck out 15 batters over 16.2 innings. This season, the fireballing righty has made two relief appearances against the Blue Jays. He gave up one run on four hits and two walks while striking out three over 3.1 innings.

Buehrle has really been throwing the ball well as of late. In his last start, he took a no-decision against the Mets after surrendering two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out five over seven innings. He’s given up just three earned runs over his last 30 innings, and he’s thrown three complete games over his last six starts. His three complete games are tied with David Price for the most in baseball. The strike-throwing, quick-working, crafty vet boasts strong career numbers against the O’s. In 25 starts (27 appearances), Buehrle is 11-10 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, and he’s struck out 88 batters over 164.1 innings. This season, Buehrle has gone 3-0 in three starts against the Birds with a 3.50 ERA and 1.33 WHIP while striking out seven batters over 18 innings.

Good News: Young is 22-for-59 with 4 HRs, Jones is 16-for-39 with 2 HRs, Davis is 8-for-27 with 2 HRs, Matt Wieters is 6-for-22 with a HR, Machado is 6-for-19, Nolan Reimold is 5-for-12 with a HR, Joseph is 4-for-10 with a HR, Snider is 5-for-11, Paredes is 1-for-3, Parmelee is 1-for-3, and Flaherty is 1-for-2 off Buehrle. Edwin Encarnacion is 0-for-8, Bautista is 0-for-5, Dioner Navarro is 0-for-3, Ryan Goins is 0-for-2, Kevin Pillar is 0-for-2, and Ezequiel Carrera is 0-for-1 off Gausman.

Bad News: Hardy is 5-for-32 with a HR, and Pearce is 2-for-13 off Buehrle. Josh Donaldson is 2-for-7, Jose Reyes is 3-for-7, and Russell Martin is 1-for-1 off Gausman.

Sunday, June 21 at 1:07 p.m. on MASN, MLBN, & WJZ
RHP Chris Tillman (5-7) vs. RHP Scott Copeland (1-1)
Tillman’s 2015: 13 GS, 71 IP, 49 Ks, 5.58 ERA, 1.55 WHIP
Tillman’s Last Three Starts: 3-0, 18 IP, 8 Ks, 4.50 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Copeland’s 2015: 4 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 5 Ks, 2.57 ERA, 1.29 WHIP

Tillman has been pitching much better since getting a few extra days of rest due to back stiffness, but he’s still a long ways away from the pitcher we expected this season. Tilly went 2-5 with a 6.34 ERA in seven starts before getting a start pushed back, and he’s gone 3-2 with a 4.68 ERA in six starts after the additional rest. Walks continue to be the biggest reason for Tillman’s struggles, as he’s walked two or more batters in all but one of his starts this season and his 36 walks are the 4th most in baseball. Historically, Toronto has pummeled Tillman, and it’s hard to imagine such a patient and dangerous offense not making Tillman pay if he issues frequent free passes. In 17 career starts against the Blue Jays, Tillman is 4-9 with a 5.23 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, and he’s struck out 74 batters over 103.1 innings. This season, he’s gone 0-3 in three starts against Toronto with a 12.51 ERA and 2.20 WHIP while striking out eight batters over 13.2 innings.

This will be Copeland’s first time facing the O’s or any of their hitters. Copeland was actually an Orioles farmhand before being released by the organization in July of 2012. The 27-year-old rookie was moved into the starting rotation after an injury to Aaron Sanchez, and he was terrific in his first career start. He earned the win after holding the Marlins to one run on six hits and no walks while striking out four over seven innings. Copeland was knocked around in his second start, though. He gave up three runs to the Mets on eight hits and no walks while striking out one over four innings. Copeland’s minor league numbers aren’t very impressive, as he’s gone 42-43 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.40 WHIP while striking out 458 batters over 692.1 innings. Copeland has relied primarily on his low 90s fastball in the big leagues, throwing it 66.7% of the time. He also mixes in a slider, a changeup, and a curveball. Personally, it looks to me that this dude is in way over his head and is in line for a beatdown of epic proportions.

Good News: Since April 29, the O’s bullpen leads the MLB with a 1.99 ERA (Kubatko). Justin Smoak is 2-for-11, and Carrera is 0-for-3 off Tillman. In 81 career games against the Blue Jays, Davis is batting .301/.381/.656 with 26 RBIs, 63 RBIs, and 50 runs scored.

Bad News: Encarnacion is 13-for-43 with 2 HRs, Bautista is 9-for-34 with 2 HRs, Reyes is 9-for-26 with a HR, Donaldson is 6-for-17 with a HR, Goins is 6-for-17 with a HR, Navarro is 5-for-16, Pillar is 3-for-10 with a HR, Martin is 3-for-7, Danny Valencia is 2-for-7, and Chris Colabello is 2-for-3 off Tillman.

Enjoy the games, and let’s go O’s!

cover pic: HardballTalk
stats: Baseball-Reference

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