Orioles at Rays Series Preview

Sports and Bets — July 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm by

The 4th place Birds desperately need to win this three-game series at 3rd place Tampa Bay. After getting swept by the Yankees, the O’s have now lost 14 of their last 19 games, and they are currently closer to last place than first place in the division. The Birds need to start racking up victories in the worst way, so I’m going to blast “Victory” a minimum of 20 times this weekend. I’m up to try anything that might help snap the O’s out of this brutal funk.

The Breakdown
Baltimore Orioles (46-48) at Tampa Bay Rays (48-49)
Season Series: Baltimore leads 5-4
Last 10 Games: Baltimore’s 3-7, Tampa’s 5-5
Runs: Baltimore’s 10th, Tampa’s 26th
Home Runs: Baltimore’s 5th, Tampa’s tied for 15th
Batting Average: Baltimore’s 11th, Tampa’s 27th
On-Base Percentage: Baltimore’s 21st, Tampa’s 25th
Team ERA: Baltimore’s 14th, Tampa’s 10th
Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 24th, Tampa’s 6th
Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 5th, Tampa’s 22nd
Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s 1st, Tampa’s 13th

Baltimore’s Injury Report
P Jason Garcia: 60-day DL (right shoulder; currently on rehab assignment)
OF Steve Pearce: 15-day DL (left oblique)

Tampa’s Injury Report
P Jeff Beliveau: 60-day DL (torn left labrum; out for season)
P Alex Cobb: 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery; out for season)
P Burch Smith: 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery; out for season)
P Drew Smyly: 60-day DL (torn left labrum)
INF Asdrubal Cabrera: 15-day DL (right hamstring)
OF Desmond Jennings: 60-day DL (left knee)

Friday, July 24 at 7:10 p.m. on MASN
RHP Chris Tillman (7-7) vs. RHP Chris Archer (9-7)
Tillman’s 2015: 18 GS, 98 IP, 74 Ks, 4.96 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
Tillman’s Last Three Starts: 1-0, 18.2 IP, 18 Ks, 1.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
Archer’s 2015: 20 GS, 128.2 IP, 153 Ks, 2.73 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
Archer’s Last Three Starts: 0-2, 19.2 IP, 20 Ks, 5.03 ERA, 1.32 WHIP

Tillman is coming off his best start of the season and an absolute gem. He picked up the win against Detroit after pitching eight scoreless innings. He surrendered one hit and one walk while striking out eight, and the only batter to get a hit off Tillman was the leadoff man. Tillman is finally starting to show signs of turning the corner. Over his last four starts, Tillman is 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, and he’s struck out 24 batters over 25.2 innings. A big key for Tillman’s recent stretch of excellent pitching has been limiting the free passes. He’s only walked three batters over these four starts. He’ll look to give the O’s a quality start for the third straight time against a very familiar foe. In 17 career starts against the Rays, Tillman is 5-8 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, and he’s struck out 68 batters over 100 innings. This season, Tillman has gone 1-2 in three starts against Tampa with a 3.93 ERA and 1.31 WHIP while striking out 18 batters over 18.1 innings.

The fact that the Rays will have Archer on their roster through the 2021 season for a total $43.75 million makes me insanely jealous. That Tampa front office is full of shrewd sons of bitches. Archer is one of the best young starters in baseball, and he just made his first of presumably many All-Star teams. The 26-year-old ranks 3rd in the MLB with 10.7 K/9, and he throws a mid 90s fastball, a slider, and an occasional changeup. Archer’s best pitch is by far his slider, and he’s been throwing that nasty slide piece a career-high 40.7% of the time this season. Despite Archer’s electric stuff, the Birds have had his number over the years. In seven career appearances (six starts) against the O’s, Archer is 1-4 with a 5.65 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, and he’s struck out 34 batters over 36.2 innings. This season, Archer has gone 0-2 in two starts against the Birds with a 5.40 ERA and 1.46 WHIP while striking out 10 batters over 11.2 innings.

Good News: Manny Machado is 4-for-14, Matt Wieters is 4-for-12, Ryan Flaherty is 4-for-11, J.J. Hardy is 4-for-11, Chris Davis is 3-for-8 with a HR, Travis Snider is 2-for-6, Caleb Joseph is 2-for-4 with a HR, Chris Parmelee is 2-for-4, and Jonathan Schoop is 1-for-2 off Archer. James Loney is 4-for-27 with a HR, David DeJesus is 4-for-15, Logan Forsythe is 3-for-14, Kevin Kiermaier is 1-for-12, and Rene Rivera is 0-for-4 off Tillman. The Rays are 24-27 at home this season.

Bad News: Adam Jones is 2-for-17, David Lough is 1-for-6, Jimmy Paredes is 1-for-4, and Nolan Reimold is 0-for-1 off Archer. Evan Longoria is 15-for-40 with 6 HRs, John Jaso is 4-for-16, Steven Souza is 3-for-9 with a HR, Brandon Guyer is 2-for-6, Joey Butler is 2-for-3, and Jake Elmore is 1-for-2 off Tillman. The O’s are an AL-worst 19-30 on the road this season.

Saturday, July 25 at 6:10 p.m. on MASN & WJZ
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (8-6) vs. RHP Erasmo Ramirez (8-3)
Gonzalez’s 2015: 17 GS, 98.1 IP, 75 Ks, 4.21 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
Gonzalez’s Last Three Starts: 2-1, 16 IP, 11 Ks, 5.06 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Ramirez’s 2015 Stats: 21 G, 14 GS, 84 IP, 70 Ks, 3.54 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
Ramirez’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 16.2 IP, 12 Ks, 1.62 ERA, 0.90 WHIP

Gonzalez was solid in his first start of the 2nd half, earning the win against Detroit after holding them to two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four over five innings. Gonzo has faced the Rays more than any other team in his career, and I’m sure he wishes that he could pitch against them even more often. In 14 career starts against Tampa, Gonzalez is 5-4 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.35 WHIP, and he’s struck out 58 batters over 81.2 innings. In seven career starts at the Trop, Gonzalez is 4-2 with a 2.05 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, and he’s struck out 33 batters over 44 innings. This season, Gonzalez has gone 1-1 in three starts against the Rays. He’s posted a 0.84 ERA and 0.75 WHIP while striking out 17 batters over 21.1 innings.

Ramirez began the season as a member of the Rays’ bullpen, but he’s ended up being one of Tampa’s best starters. If you throw out Ramirez’s disastrous first start of the season, where he was pummeled by Toronto for nine runs (eight earned) in 3.1 innings, he’s recorded a 2.70 ERA over 80.2 innings. The 25-year-old has held opponents to two runs or fewer in each of his last nine starts. Over that same span, Ramirez is 6-1 with a 1.29 ERA and 0.92 WHIP, and he’s struck out 41 batters over 48.2 innings. The red-hot Ramirez throws in the low 90s with a changeup, a slider, and a curveball. Ramirez’s best pitch is his changeup, and he’s been throwing it 25.8% of the time this season. In four career appearances (three starts) against the O’s, Ramirez is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA and 0.54 WHIP, and he’s struck out 20 batters over 22.1 innings. This season, Ramirez has gone 1-0 in two appearances (one start) against the Birds. He’s pitched 8.1 scoreless innings, giving up only three hits and a walk while striking out eight batters.

Good News: Flaherty is 2-for-5, and Wieters is 1-for-5 with a HR off Ramirez. Evan Longoria is 7-for-30 with a HR, Loney is 4-for-23, DeJesus is 4-for-15, Kiermaier is 2-for-11, Rivera is 1-for-7, Butler is 0-for-4, Elmore is 1-for-4, and Guyer is 0-for-2 off Gonzalez.

Bad News: Davis is 0-for-8, Machado is 1-for-8 with a HR, Jones is 1-for-6, Lough is 0-for-6, Hardy is 0-for-5, Paredes is 0-for-3, Snider is 0-for-3, and Joseph is 0-for-1 off Ramirez. Forsythe is 3-for-9, Souza is 2-for-8 with a HR, Tim Beckham is 1-for-3, and Jaso is 1-for-3 off Gonzalez. In 115 career games against the O’s, Longoria is batting .266/.341/.509 with 25 HRs, 76 RBIs, and 72 runs scored.

Sunday, July 26 at 1:10 p.m. on MASN & WJZ
LHP Wei-Yin Chen (4-6) vs. LHP Matt Moore (1-1)
Chen’s 2015: 18 GS, 116.1 IP, 93 Ks, 2.86 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
Chen’s Last Three Starts: 0-2, 21.1 IP, 15 Ks, 2.95 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
Moore’s 2015: 4 GS, 18.2 IP, 11 Ks, 7.23 ERA, 1.88 WHIP
Moore’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 14 IP, 7 Ks, 7.07 ERA, 1.93 WHIP

Chen can’t catch a break with his win/loss record, but he’s been the anchor of the Orioles’ rotation this season. Eight of his last nine outings have been quality starts, including the last six times he’s toed the bump. Like Gonzalez, Chen has faced the Rays more than any other team, and he’s typically pitched very well against them. In 16 career starts against Tampa, Chen is 3-5 with a 3.42 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, and he’s struck out 60 batters over 94.2 innings. This season, Chen has gone 0-1 in three starts against the Rays. He’s pitched to a 4.15 ERA and 1.21 WHIP while striking out 12 batters over 17.1 innings.

Moore is trying to return from Tommy John surgery, and so far, the southpaw has struggled mightily. He’s given up at least three runs in all four of his outings, and he’s been unable to pitch more than five innings in any start. Moore is prone to wildness, as he’s walked 10 batters in just 18.2 innings this season, and he’s averaged 4.3 BB/9 for this career. The 26-year-old is a fly ball pitcher, who throws in the low 90s with a curveball, a changeup, and a cutter. Moore’s changeup is his best pitch, and he’s been throwing it 15.7% of the time this season. The 2013 All-Star is 4-3 in eight career appearances (seven starts) against the O’s. He’s posted a 3.86 ERA and 1.61 WHIP while striking out 38 batters over 39.2 innings. This will be Moore’s first start against the Birds since June 9, 2013. In that contest, Moore took the loss after allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 12 hits and a walk while striking out six over five innings.

Good News: Hardy is 5-for-20 with a HR, Jones is 9-for-19 with 2 HRs, Wieters is 8-for-14 with 2 HRs, and Machado is 3-for-10 off Moore. Beckham is 1-for-8, Rivera is 1-for-6, and Elmore is 0-for-3 off Chen. Over the last nine games, the Birds’ bullpen has recorded a 1.40 ERA while striking out 24 batters over 25.2 innings (Kubatko).

Bad News: Davis is 2-for-13, Parmelee is 1-for-6, Reimold is 0-for-3, and Paredes is 0-for-2 off Moore. Longoria is 8-for-28, Forsythe is 6-for-20 with 2 HRs, Guyer is 5-for-14, Loney is 5-for-16 with a HR, Kiermaier is 4-for-9 with a HR, Souza is 1-for-7 with a HR, and Butler 2-for-6 with a HR off Chen.

Enjoy the games, and let’s go O’s!

cover pic: Washington Post
stats: Baseball-Reference

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