Orioles at Cubs Series Preview

Sports and Bets — August 22, 2014 at 1:34 pm by

After sweeping the White Sox, the O’s are 4-2 after six games on their nine-game road trip. They’ll look to finish up strong over three day games against the Cubs. The Cubs are having a pretty awful year, but this series looks to present some tough pitching matchups for the O’s. The way the Birds are rolling, though, I’m sure they wouldn’t care if Henry Rowengartner was taking the bump for all three games. Let’s play some ball!

The Breakdown

Baltimore Orioles (73-52) at Chicago Cubs (55-72)

Baltimore’s Last 10 Games: 7-3, Chicago’s Last 10 Games: 5-5

Runs: Baltimore’s 8th, Chicago’s 28th

Home Runs: Baltimore’s 1st, Chicago’s 9th

Batting Average: Baltimore’s 6th, Chicago’s 28th

On-base Percentage: Baltimore’s 18th, Chicago’s 29th

Team ERA: Baltimore’s 13th, Chicago’s 17th

Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 17th, Chicago’s 19th

Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 8th, Chicago’s 14th

Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s tied for 2nd, Chicago’s tied for 10th

Friday, August 22, 2:20 PM MASN

Kevin Gausman RHP (7-4) vs. Jake Arrieta RHP (6-4)

Gausman’s Season Stats: 73 IP, 48 Ks, 3.70 ERA, 1.38 WHIP

Gausman’s Last Three Starts: 2-1, 17 IP, 11 Ks, 3.71 ERA, 1.53 WHIP

Arrieta’s Season Stats: 117.1 IP, 122 Ks, 2.61 ERA, 1.02 ERA

Arrieta’s Last Three Starts: 0-2, 19.1 IP, 16 Ks, 5.12 ERA, 1.19 WHIP

Gausman will look to keep his momentum rolling after a nice start in Cleveland. He earned the win after allowing one run on two hits and four walks while striking out two over six innings. Gausman has never faced the Cubs before or faced any batter on their current roster. In three career Interleague play starts, he’s 1-2 with a 7.80 ERA and 1.93 WHIP.

Can you imagine what this Orioles rotation would look like if they still had Arrieta? Why couldn’t that light bulb go off in his head a season earlier? Arrieta is having a fantastic season, and don’t let that 5.12 ERA over his last three starts fool you. Arrieta is still dealing. He just was shellacked in Coors Field on August 6. Happens to the best of them. He took the loss after allowing nine runs on 13 hits over five innings. In his next two starts, he held the Brewers and Mets to two runs combined over 14.1 innings. Arrieta has never faced his former team, and he has been roughed up in Interleague play in the past. In 14 career starts, he’s 4-6 with a 5.91 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.

Good News: Nelson Cruz is 3-for-7, and Chris Davis is 2-for-2 off Arrieta. Nick Markakis has the highest Interleague play batting average of all time. He’s batting .353 in 436 career Interleague at-bats. He’s also slashing .370/.446/.548 in 18 August games with 3 HRs, five RBIs, and 12 runs scored.

Bad News: Nick Hundley is 1-for-4, Delmon Young is 0-for-3, and Professional Hitter Steve Pearce is 0-for-1 off Arrieta. Since this series is at Wrigley Field, the O’s will be without a DH for the next three games. Thankfully, this will be the last National League trip for the Birds until the World Series. Hey, a blogger can dream.

Saturday, August 23, 2:20 PM MASN

Bud Norris RHP (11-7) vs. Kyle Hendricks RHP (5-1)

Norris’ Season Stats: 127 IP, 96 Ks, 3.69 ERA, 1.21 WHIP

Norris’ Last Three Starts: 3-0, 17.1 IP, 16 Ks, 3.63 ERA, 1.04 WHIP

Hendricks’ Season Stats: 48.2 IP, 29 Ks, 1.48 ERA, 0.95 WHIP

Hendricks’ Last Three Starts: 3-0, 22.1 IP, 12 Ks, 0.81 ERA, 0.81 WHIP

Norris was excellent in his last start, holding the White Sox to two runs on three hits over seven innings. I thought that Norris was finally going to get that complete game monkey off his back, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Norris leads all active pitchers with 148 career starts without a complete game. Norris has seen the Cubs a lot over his career from his days with the Astros, and he’s been quite successful against them. In 10 appearances (nine starts), he’s 4-4 with a 3.13 ERA and 1.46 WHIP, and has struck out 49 batters over 54.2 innings.

Hendricks is a 24-year-old rookie who has been terrific over his first seven starts in the big leagues. He had an impressive minor league career, recording a 2.69 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 452.1 innings. This will be Hendricks first Interleague play start, first start against the Orioles, and first time facing any of their current hitters.

Good News: It looks like the Cubs will be without three-time All-Star shortstop, Starlin Castro, for the entirety of the series. Chris Coghlan is 0-for-14, Anthony Rizzo is 0-for-9, and Ryan Sweeney is 0-for-2 off Norris. Cruz has homered in two of his last three games, and leads the MLB with 33 dingers.

Bad News: Castro is on the bereavement list after losing a cousin and three close friends in a car crash. Heartbreaking stuff. Luis Valbuena is 3-for-9 with a HR, John Baker is 3-for-6, and Welington Castillo is 3-for-8 off Norris.

Sunday, August 24, 2:20 PM MASN

Miguel Gonzalez RHP (6-6) vs. Tsuyoshi Wada LHP (3-1)

Gonzalez’s Season Stats: 113.2 IP, 80 Ks, 3.80 ERA, 1.41 WHIP

Gonzalez’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 17 IP, 6 Ks, 3.18 ERA, 1.41 WHIP

Wada’s Season Stats: 39.1 IP, 33 Ks, 2.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP

Wada’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 17.2 IP, 14 Ks, 2.04 ERA, 0.96 WHIP

Finally, that slapdick Ubaldo Jimenez is in the bullpen, and Gonzo is back in the starting rotation. Gonzalez won his last start in the big leagues, beating the Blue Jays in Toronto on August 7. He surrendered only one run on four hits and two walks while striking out four over six innings. Gonzalez has been fantastic in Interleague play over three career starts, going 1-0 with a 3.32 ERA and 1.05 WHIP while striking out 18 batters over 19 innings. This will be Gonzalez’s first time facing the Cubs or any of their current hitters.

I can understand Arrieta finding success with the Cubs. Even though he struggled in Baltimore, he was still young and always had great stuff, it was just a matter of him putting it all together. But I’m shocked that Wada is pitching this well for the Cubs. At 33 years of age and coming off Tommy John surgery, I never thought that Wada would have an impact in the big leagues. When I look at his current stats, I feel like I just got socked in the nose.

Funky butt loving is right. This will be Wada’s first Interleague play start, first time facing the O’s, and first time seeing any of their current hitters.

Good News: In 15 August games, J.J. Hardy is batting .357/.390/.589 with three HRs, 11 RBIs, and 11 runs scored.

Bad News: The Birds will want to pitch carefully to Anthony Rizzo. The 24-year-old made his first All-Star team this season, and he’s really developed into one hell of a ball player. He’s slashing .278/.377/.512 with 29 HRs, 69 RBIs, and 80 runs scored.

Enjoy the games, and let’s go O’s!

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