Orioles at Rangers Preview

Sports and Bets — June 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm by

The O’s (28-27) will wrap up their 10-game road trip with a three-game series against the Rangers (29-28). The Birds haven’t played great on the trip so far, going 3-4 through their first seven road games. Nevertheless, they have won their last two games, with their last win coming in impressive fashion.

Starting Pitchers

Ubaldo Jimenez RHP (2-6, 4.65 ERA) vs. Joe Saunders LHP (0-1, 4.15 ERA)

Jimenez’s last start came against the Astros, and it was one of his better efforts on the season. He allowed one run on three hits and three walks, with eight strikeouts over six innings. Jimenez has fared much better on the road this season, recording a 3.74 ERA over six road starts, compared to a 5.72 ERA over five home starts. Jimenez has also pitched much better as the season has progressed; posting a 3.12 ERA over six May starts and a 6.59 ERA over five April starts.

This will be only Saunders’ third start of the season, due to a left ankle stress fracture that kept him sidelined for almost two months. The Rangers are Saunders’ second team since pitching with the O’s. He spent the 2013 season with the Mariners, and it was a season that he would like to forget, pitching to a 5.26 ERA over 32 starts. Saunders’ last start was his first start since April 4, and he showed no signs of rust. He pitched five shutout innings at Minnesota, allowing five hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Saunders has struggled mightily in Texas over his career, going 1-7 in eight starts with an 8.58 ERA. And I think we all remember fondly when that win occurred.

Lineups

Rangers

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

Orioles

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

 Matchups to Watch

Jimenez has pitched well against the Rangers over his career, going 3-2 in six starts with a 3.03 ERA and 34 strikeouts over 35 2/3 innings. He hasn’t fared nearly as well in Texas, going 1-1 over three starts with a 4.80 ERA and 15 strikeouts over 15 innings. Current Rangers have hit .215/.342/.431 with three home runs in 65 at-bats against Jimenez. Rios, Andrus, and Mooreland have struggled against Jimenez, going a combined 6-for-38 with no home runs against the righty. Beltre has had the most success off Jimenez, going 6-for-17 with a home run. Beltre has missed 14 games this year and only hit five home runs, but he is still a premier hitter with impressive lifetime numbers against the Orioles. In 85 career games against the O’s, Beltre is hitting .280 with 19 home runs and 52 RBIs.

beltre

Saunders has kept the Birds in check over his career, going 7-0 in nine starts with a 4.09 ERA, despite striking out only 15 batters in 55 innings. Current Orioles have only hit .250/.296/.386 with five home runs over 132 at-bats against the lefty. Markakis, Jones, and Davis have all floundered against Saunders, going a combined 14-for-65 with a home run. The wrecking ball known as Nelson Cruz has excellent career numbers off Saunders, going 11-for-33 with 2 home runs.

As of now, the Rangers are 13th in the MLB in runs scored and the O’s are 14th. These are solid rankings, but both teams know that they will need a lot more firepower from here on out to reach the postseason. The weather is starting to heat up and Globe Life Park in Arlington (what a shitty name) is one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the league. I can definitely see these lineups coming to life and turning this series into something resembling slow pitch softball.


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