Orioles at Rays Series Preview

Sports and Bets — September 5, 2014 at 4:37 pm by

Last night’s sweep concluded a dominant home stand that saw the Birds go 9-2. The O’s are 9.5 games up on the Yankees, and their magic number is 15. There’s only 23 games left on the schedule, and all of them are against divisional foes. It’s time for the hometown squad to finish the season off strong and head into the playoffs with the swagger of a champion prizefighter.

This three-game series at Tampa will be the last time that the O’s face the Rays this season. It also features three of the same pitching matchups from the O’s/Rays most recent series on August 25-28. The Birds took that series 3-1, and went 2-1 in the first round of these repeat pitching matchups. Taking another two outta three sounds good to me, babes.

The Breakdown

Baltimore Orioles (82-57) at Tampa Bay Rays (67-74)

Season Series: Baltimore leads 11-5

Baltimore’s Last 10 Games: 8-2, Tampa’s Last 10 Games: 3-7

Runs: Baltimore’s 7th, Tampa’s 22nd

Home Runs: Baltimore’s 1st, Tampa’s 26th

Batting Average: Baltimore’s 7th, Tampa’s 20th

On-base Percentage: Baltimore’s 17th, Tampa’s 12th

Team ERA: Baltimore’s 12th, Tampa’s 8th

Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 14th, Tampa’s 8th

Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 8th, Tampa’s 16th

Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s 3rd, Tampa’s 6th

 Friday, September 5, 7:10 PM MASN 2

Wei-Yin Chen LHP (14-4) vs. Alex Cobb RHP (9-7)

Chen’s Season Stats: 155 IP, 116 Ks, 3.83 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

Chen’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 18.2 IP, 4.34 ERA, 14 Ks, 1.34 WHIP

Cobb’s Season Stats: 133 IP, 128 Ks, 2.98 ERA, 1.17 WHIP

Cobb’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 17.1 IP, 18 Ks, 1.56 ERA, 1.04 WHIP

Chen will look to keep things rolling for the Birds against a team that he hasn’t been able to figure out this season. In 2012 and 2013, Chen made eight total starts against the Rays, going 2-3 with a 3.04 ERA and 1.23 WHIP while striking out 36 batters over 50.1 innings. This season, Chen is 1-1 in four starts with a 4.71 ERA and 1.57 WHIP while striking out nine batters over 21 innings. In his most recent start against Tampa, he was credited with a no-decision after allowing two runs over 4.2 innings, and the O’s went on to win, 4-2.

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Cobb has given the O’s fits in his young career, going 4-1 in seven starts with a 2.14 ERA and 1.17 WHIP while striking out 45 batters over 42 innings. Fortunately for the Birds, they have showed some signs of progress against this master of the changeup. In his last two starts against the O’s, he’s gone 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA and 1.56 while striking out nine over nine innings. In his most recent start against the Birds, he allowed two runs, and was only able to complete four innings.

Good News: J.J. Hardy is 5-for-16, Nick Markakis is 5-for-15, and Caleb Joseph is 2-for-4 off Cobb. Sean Rodriguez is 4-for-21 with a HR, Yunel Escobar is 2-for-17 with a HR, Wil Myers is 1-for-9, and Ryan Hanigan is 1-for-8 with a HR off Chen.

Bad News: Adam Jones is 4-for-21, Chris Davis is 2-for-13, Nelson Cruz is 3-for-14, and Jonathan Schoop is 0-for-7 off Cobb. Ben Zobrist is 12-for-32 with a HR, Desmond Jennings is 7-for-28 with a HR, Evan Longoria is 6-for-21, Logan Forsythe is 3-for-10 with a HR, James Loney is 4-for-10, and Kevin Kiermaier is 2-for-5 with a HR off Chen.

 Saturday, September 6, 1:05 PM FOX

Kevin Gausman RHP (7-7) vs. Drew Smyly LHP (9-10)

Gausman’s Season Stats: 89.1 IP, 66 Ks, 3.93 ERA, 1.34 WHIP

Gausman’s Last Three Starts: 0-3, 16.1 IP, 18 Ks, 4.96 ERA, 1.16 WHIP

Smyly’s Season Stats: 147 IP, 125 Ks, 3.31 ERA, 1.17 WHIP

Smyly’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 21.2 IP, 17 Ks, 1.25 ERA, 0.46 WHIP

The Rays continue to give the 23-year-old flamethrower problems. In his last start against the Rays, Gausman took the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits while striking out four over four innings. In 2014, Gausman is 1-2 in three starts with a 4.20 ERA and 1.53 WHIP against the Rays. For his career, he’s 1-3 in five appearances (four starts) with a 6.64 ERA and 1.77 WHIP.

Smyly continues to shine as a member of the Rays, recording a microscopic 1.73 ERA and 0.72 WHIP, and striking out 36 batters over 41.2 innings in six starts since being traded from Detroit. In five appearances (two starts) lifetime against the O’s, he’s gone 2-0 with a save, and posted a 0.86 ERA and 0.67 WHIP while striking out 21 batters over 21 innings. In his last start against the Birds, he earned the win after allowing only one run on two hits and a walk while striking out six over seven innings. On a positive note, his last name reminds me of one of the greatest opening scenes in film history.

Good News: Both Davis and Jones have hit a HR off Smyly. Matthew Joyce is 2-for-9, Loney is 2-for-10, and Jennings is 1-for-7 off Gausman.

Bad News: As a team, the O’s are batting .120/.195/.227 over 75 at-bats against Smyly. David Lough owns the highest batting average against Smyly with a 1-for-3 mark. Longoria is 3-for-10, Zobrist is 6-for-10, Escobar is 5-for-7, and Brandon Guyer is 2-for-2 off Gausman.

Sunday, September 7, 1:40 PM MASN 2

Bud Norris RHP (12-8) vs. Jeremy Hellickson RHP (1-3)

Norris’ Season Stats: 141 IP, 112 Ks, 3.83 ERA, 1.23 WHIP

Norris’ Last Three Starts: 1-1, 14 IP, 16 Ks, 5.14 ERA, 1.29 WHIP

Hellickson’s Season Stats: 45.2 IP, 37 Ks, 3.74 ERA, 1.34 WHIP

Hellickson’s Last Three Starts: 0-1, 14 IP, 12 Ks, 6.43 ERA, 1.71 WHIP

Norris has struggled against the Rays over his career, going 1-2 over six appearances (five starts) with a 4.35 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. But he has been able to strike out 33 Rays over 31 innings. It’s been mostly the same this season, as Norris has a 4.63 ERA and 1.29 WHIP while striking out 10 Rays over 11.2 innings in two starts. In his most recent start against the Rays, he was credited with a no-decision after allowing four runs in six innings, and the O’s went on to win, 5-4.

Coming into his August 28 start against the Birds, Hellickson had gone 9-4 over 17 appearances (15 starts) with a 3.25 ERA and 1.11 WHIP against them. But I guess that no one told the O’s that. The Birds knocked him around to the tune of four runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks over 4.1 innings.

Good News: Jones is 16-for-44 with 4 HRs, Hardy is 11-for-39 with 2 HRs, Davis is 11-for-29 with 2 HRs, Alejandro De Aza is 3-for-9, and Professional Hitter Steve Pearce is 1-for-3 with a HR off Hellickson. Zobrist is 2-for-12 with a HR, Longoria is 2-for-11 with a HR, Escobar is 1-for-7, Myers is 1-for-9, Forsythe is 1-for-6, and Jose Molina is 1-for-6 off Norris.

Bad News: Markakis is 9-for-41 with 2 HRs, Kelly Johnson is 1-for-7, Ryan Flaherty is 0-for-9, Delmon Young is 2-for-10, and Cruz is 1-for-9 off Hellickson. Loney is 11-for-21, David DeJesus is 8-for-15 with 3 HRs, Jennings is 3-for-11, and Joyce is 4-for-9 off Norris.

Enjoy the games, and let’s go O’s!

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