Orioles at Rangers Preview

Sports and Bets — June 4, 2014 at 4:48 pm by

The O’s (29-27) kept their winning ways going last night with an 8-3 victory over the Rangers (29-29). Throughout the early and middle innings, the Birds had plenty of chances to bust the game wide open, but couldn’t come up with the big hit. It was 2-2 going into the 8th inning, when the Birds put up a six spot and left the Rangers in the dust. Caleb Freakin’ Joseph knocked in the go-ahead run on a double, and Nelson Cruz capped the rally with a three-run bomb to left.

Starting Pitchers

Bud Norris RHP (3-5, 4.04 ERA) vs. Nick Martinez RHP (1-1, 2.75 ERA)

Norris has been knocked around a bit in his last two starts, which has caused his ERA to jump from 3.58 to 4.04. Over these two starts, he’s allowed eight runs on 11 hits and six walks, with seven strikeouts over 12 innings. Norris has also pitched much better at home this season, posting a 3.12 ERA over four home stats, compared to a 4.71 ERA over six road starts.

Martinez is a 23 year-old rookie, and he will be making only his sixth career start (11th appearance) tonight. Martinez has been a solid starter for the Rangers this season, and pitched even better out of the bullpen, recording a .77 ERA over 11 2/3 innings in relief. As a starter, he’s pitched to a 3.58 ERA over five starts. However, it does appear that Martinez is very fortunate to have such a low ERA. Over 39 1/3 innings, he’s walked 17 batters while only striking out 20, and has a 1.50 WHIP. He appears due for a start full of crooked numbers in the box score, and I cannot think of a better time for the statistical correction than right now.

 Lineups

Orioles

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

Rangers

  1. Shin-Soo Choo LF
  2. Luis Sardinas SS
  3. Mitch Moreland 1B
  4. Adrian Beltre DH
  5. Alex Rios RF
  6. Donnie Murphy 3B
  7. Leonys Martin CF
  8. Robinson Chirinos C
  9. Rougned Odor 2B

Matchups To Watch

Norris made his only career start against the Rangers last year, and he pitched quite well. He earned the win after allowing two runs on five hits and three walks, with five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. Current Rangers haven’t hit Norris at all in their limited opportunities, slashing only .150/.190/.200 over 20 at-bats. Rios has had by far the most success, going 2-for-3 off the righty. The Rangers’ only other hit off Norris comes from pitcher Joe Saunders. Norris will want to be extra careful against Beltre, who went 3-for-4 last night with a home run. Beltre is batting .393 with 11 home runs and 24 RBIs over his last 20 games.

No Oriole has ever faced Martinez, so let’s instead look at the frustrating season Davis is having. In one of the most bizarre stats I’ve seen this year, the O’s are 18-24 with Davis in the lineup, and 11-3 with him out of the lineup. I don’t think anyone was realistically expecting another 2013 season from Davis, where he hit .286/.370/.634 with 53 home runs and 138 RBIs. But it was fair to expect that he would at least match his 2012 output of hitting .270/.326/.501 with 33 home runs and 85 RBIs. Right now, Davis is batting .230/.350/.414, and is on pace for roughly 20 home runs and 72 RBIs. Those are pretty dreadful numbers for an All-Star firstbaseman. Things have been even worse as of late, with Davis going 3-for-32 over his last eight games. Hopefully, Davis can get back to whatever he was doing during that awe-inspiring three-homer game in Pittsburgh because a productive Chris Davis can help take this already potent offense to the next level.

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