Orioles at Red Sox Series Preview

Sports and Bets — June 23, 2015 at 6:47 pm by

The O’s will wrap up their eight-game road trip with a three-game series against the last place Red Sox. Just typing that sentence-ending phrase is enough to make me go from six to midnight. The Birds are 3-2 so far on the road trip, and they’re 13-7 in the month of June. Let’s keep the Buck Truck rolling!

The Breakdown
Baltimore Orioles (36-33) at Boston Red Sox (31-40)
Season Series: Baltimore leads 7-3
Last 10 Games: Baltimore’s 7-3, Boston’s 4-6
Runs: Baltimore’s tied for 4th, Boston’s tied for 16th
Home Runs: Baltimore’s 5th, Boston’s 13th
Batting Average: Baltimore’s 8th, Boston’s 15th
On-Base Percentage: Baltimore’s 17th, Boston’s 9th
Team ERA: Baltimore’s 12th, Boston’s 27th
Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 22nd, Boston’s 27th
Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 5th, Boston’s 23rd
Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s tied for 3rd, Boston’s 18th

Baltimore’s Injury Report
P Jason Garcia: 60-day DL (right shoulder)
P Wesley Wright: 60-day DL (left shoulder)
INF Jonathan Schoop: 60-day DL (right knee; currently on rehab assignment)

Boston’s Injury Report
P Heath Hembree: 15-day DL (right shoulder)
P Anthony Varvaro: 60-day DL (right elbow; out for season)
P Brandon Workman: 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery; out for season)
C Ryan Hanigan: 60-day DL (right hand; currently on rehab assignment)
C Christian Vazquez: 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery; out for season)
OF Daniel Nava: 15-day DL (left thumb)
OF Shane Victorino: 15-day DL (left calf)

Tuesday, June 23 at 7:10 p.m. on MASN
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (5-3) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (2-4)
Jimenez’s 2015 Stats: 13 GS, 74.1 IP, 74 Ks, 3.27 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Jimenez’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 16.2 IP, 19 Ks, 3.78 ERA, 1.68 WHIP
Kelly’s 2015: 13 GS, 71 IP, 58 Ks, 5.32 ERA, 1.44 WHIP
Kelly’s Last Three Starts: 1-0, 17 IP, 12 Ks, 3.71 ERA, 1.35 WHIP

Jimenez was solid in his last start, earning the win against the Phillies after holding them to four runs (three earned) on eight hits and no walks while striking out eight over 6.2 innings. It looks like Jimenez will have his hands full in this start, as he’s been a much better pitcher at home this season, and Boston’s hammered him over his career. In six home starts this season, Jimenez is 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, and he’s struck out 40 batters over 40 innings. In seven road starts, Jimenez is 1-2 with a 4.19 ERA and 1.57 WHIP, and he’s struck out 34 batters over 34.1 innings. In eight career starts against the Red Sox, Jimenez has gone 1-3 with an 8.42 ERA and 1.90 WHIP while striking out 39 batters over 36.1 innings. This season, Jimenez’s lone start against Boston was cut short after he was inexplicably ejected. Before getting the heave-ho, he gave up no runs on no hits and three walks while striking out two over 3.2 innings. Thankfully, incompetent slapdick Jordan Baker will be nowhere near Fenway Park this time around.

After winning his first start in 2015, Kelly has won only one of his last 12 starts. This season, Kelly’s been generating ground balls at a career-low rate of 49.1% and fly balls at a career-high rate of 30.1%, which usually spells bad news for a ground ball pitcher. While it’s been a rough season for the 27-year-old, he has showed signs of getting back on track. Over his last four starts, Kelly is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA. Kelly relies primarily on his mid 90s fastball, which he’s thrown a career-high 71.2% of the time this season. He also mixes in a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. In three career starts against the O’s, Kelly is 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, and he’s struck out 14 batters over 19 innings. This season, Kelly took a no-decision in his first start against the Birds after giving up two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out three over 5.2 innings. It was the same game that Jimenez was tossed from, and the Sox went on to win in walk-off fashion, 3-2. You know what they say, “Revenge is a dish best served with a steady diet of tape measure homers.”

Good News: Travis Snider is 4-for-14, Caleb Joseph is 1-for-6 with a HR, Steve Pearce is 2-for-6, Chris Davis is 2-for-4, David Lough is 2-for-3, and Delmon Young is 1-for-3 off Kelly. David Ortiz is 2-for-15 with a HR, and Hanley Ramirez is 1-for-11 off Jimenez. In 10 games against Boston this season, Davis is batting .324/.372/.649 with 3 HRs, 8 RBIs, and 9 runs scored.

Bad News: Adam Jones is 1-for-6, Ryan Flaherty is 0-for-5, J.J. Hardy is 0-for-3, and Manny Machado is 0-for-2 off Kelly. Pablo Sandoval is 11-for-34 with 2 HRs, Alejandro De Aza is 6-for-25, Dustin Pedroia is 7-for-21, Mike Napoli is 4-for-11 with 2 HRs, Xander Bogaerts is 2-for-4, Mookie Betts is 1-for-3, and Brock Holt is 1-for-3 off Jimenez.

Wednesday, June 24 at 7:10 p.m. on MASN
RHP Bud Norris (2-5) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (4-6)
Norris’ 2015: 9 GS, 44 IP, 32 Ks, 7.57 ERA, 1.64 WHIP
Norris’ Last Three Starts: 1-1, 16.2 IP, 14 Ks, 3.78 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
Buchholz’s 2015: 14 GS, 86 IP, 84 Ks, 3.87 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
Buchholz’s Last Three Starts: 1-0, 17.2 IP, 14 Ks, 4.08 ERA, 1.58 WHIP

Norris has made three starts since coming off the DL, and as you can see from the stats above, ol’ Bud’s been looking much more like the 2014 version of himself. Thank fucking God. Earlier this season, I was dreading Norris’ starts like a trip to the dentist. Norris pitched well in his last start, but he was still saddled with the loss. He gave up two runs to the Phillies on five hits and two walks while striking out two over six innings. Norris has had success against Boston over his career, going 2-2 in six starts with a 3.52 ERA and 1.30 WHIP while striking out 38 batters over 38.1 innings. This season, Norris has gone 1-0 in one start against the Red Sox. He surrendered three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out two over 6.2 innings.

After a miserable April that saw him go 1-3 in five starts with a 5.76 ERA and 1.56 WHIP, Buchholz has been able to right the ship. In nine starts in May and June, he’s 3-3 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. The 30-year-old greaseball is coming off an excellent start against Atlanta. He earned the win after giving up two runs (none earned) on six hits and a walk while striking out three over seven innings. Buchholz throws in the low 90s with a cutter, a changeup, and a curveball, and his fastball is his only pitch that’s considered below average. In 17 career starts (18 appearances) against the O’s, Buchholz is 9-5 with a 3.81 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, and he’s struck out 78 batters over 106.1 innings. This season, Buchholz took the loss in his lone start against the Birds. He gave up two runs on 11 hits and a walk while striking out seven over six innings.

Good News: Jones is 9-for-32 with 2 HRs, Davis is 7-for-22 with 2 HRs, Hardy is 7-for-19 with 2 HRs, Flaherty is 5-for-15, Chris Parmelee is 3-for-10 with a HR, Jimmy Paredes is 2-for-3, Joseph is 1-for-2, and Lough is 1-for-1 off Buchholz. Napoli is 2-for-15, Bogaerts is 0-for-9, De Aza is 2-for-8, and Betts is 0-for-4 off Norris.

Bad News: Matt Wieters is 6-for-30, Snider is 1-for-17, Young is 1-for-9, Machado is 2-for-8, Pearce is 1-for-7, and Nolan Reimold is 0-for-3 off Buchholz. Ramirez is 6-for-15 with a HR, Pedroia is 5-for-13, Ortiz is 3-for-12 with a HR, Sandoval is 3-for-12 with a HR, Holt is 4-for-8, and Sandy Leon is 1-for-3 off Norris.

Thursday, June 25 at 1:35 p.m. on MASN
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (5-4) vs. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1)
Gonzalez’s 2015: 12 GS, 73 IP, 59 Ks, 3.33 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
Gonzalez’s Last Three Starts: 0-1, 19 IP, 15 Ks, 1.89 ERA, 0.68 WHIP
Rodriguez’s 2015: 5 GS, 31.2 IP, 27 Ks, 3.13 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
Rodriguez’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 17 IP, 13 Ks, 5.29 ERA, 1.41 WHIP

Gonzalez will be making his first start since June 9 after going on the DL with a groin injury. Coincidentally, this is a rematch of Gonzo’s last start. Before exiting the game due to injury, he held the Red Sox scoreless over 4.1 innings on four hits and two walks while striking out one. The Birds went on to beat Rodriguez and the Sox, 1-0, after Pearce scored on a wild pitch. Hey, all Ws count the same in the standings, babes. In nine career starts (11 appearances) against Boston, Gonzalez is 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.35 WHIP, and he’s struck out 33 batters over 58.1 innings. This season, Gonzalez has gone 1-0 in three starts against the Red Sox with a 4.11 ERA and 1.57 WHIP while striking out seven batters over 15.1 innings.

Rodriguez has been terrific in his rookie season, except for one catastrophic start. On June 14, Rodriguez was pummeled by the Blue Jays, taking the loss after giving up nine runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out one over 4.2 innings. Over Rodriguez’s other four starts, he’s 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA and 0.81 WHIP, and he’s struck out 26 batters over 27 innings. In Rodriguez’s first start against the O’s this season, he took a no-decision after pitching six scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and three walks while striking out seven. So while it will certainly be a tall task to pile up some runs on the dynamic 22-year-old, it can be done. As usual, Arnold knows what I’m talking about.

Good News: Machado is 1-for-3, Wieters is 1-for-3, and Hardy is 1-for-2 off Rodriguez. Pedroia is 4-for-20, Napoli is 2-for-15, Bogaerts is 2-for-11, Rusney Castillo is 0-for-3, and Leon is 0-for-1 off Gonzalez. The O’s are 5-0 in their last five games against the Red Sox.

Bad News: As a team, the Birds are only bating .150/.292/.150 in 24 plate appearances against Rodriguez. Holt is 4-for-12, Ortiz is 3-for-12 with a HR, Betts is 3-for-11 with a HR, Ramirez is 3-for-7 with 2 HRs, Sandoval is 2-for-7, De Aza is 2-for-5, and Blake Swilhart is 1-for-2 off Gonzalez. This season, the Birds are only 14-20 on the road.

Enjoy the games, and let’s go O’s!

stats: Baseball-Reference
cover pic: Baltimore Orioles

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