Orioles at Tigers Series Preview

Sports and Bets — July 17, 2015 at 6:42 pm by

The Birds stumbled into the All-Star break, losing 10 of their last 13 and dropping to 3rd place in the crowded AL East. Let’s hope that a few off days were enough to rejuvenate the club because the O’s are kicking off the second half of the season with a tough nine-game road trip, featuring three games at Detroit, three games at New York, and three games at Tampa Bay. The Birds struggled against Detroit during the regular season in 2014, going 1-5 and getting swept in a three-game series at Camden Yards. But as we all know, the O’s got the last laugh when it came to those Motown dickheads.

The Breakdown
Baltimore Orioles (44-44) vs. Detroit Tigers (44-44)
Last 10 Games: Baltimore’s 2-8, Detroit’s 5-5
Runs: Baltimore’s 8th, Detroit’s 3rd
Home Runs: Baltimore’s 5th, Detroit’s tied for 11th
Batting Average: Baltimore’s 12th, Detroit’s 1st
On-Base Percentage: Baltimore’s 20th, Detroit’s 1st
Team ERA: Baltimore’s 12th, Detroit’s 27th
Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 21st, Detroit’s 25th
Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 6th, Detroit’s 25th
Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s tied for 2nd, Detroit’s tied for 5th

Baltimore’s Injury Report
P Jason Garcia: 60-day DL (right shoulder)

Detroit’s Injury Report
P Kyle Lobstein: 15-day DL (left shoulder)
P Joe Nathan: 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery; out for season)
INF Miguel Cabrera: 15-day DL (left calf)

Friday, July 17 at 7:08 p.m. on MASN 2
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4) vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez (8-7)
Jimenez’s 2015: 17 GS, 99.1 IP, 98 Ks, 2.81 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
Jimenez’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 20 IP, 16 Ks, 0.45 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
Sanchez’s 2015: 18 GS, 118.2 IP, 106 Ks, 4.63 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
Sanchez’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 20.2 IP, 18 Ks, 4.79 ERA, 1.16 WHIP

Jimenez was really throwing the ball well heading into the All-Star break. Over his last three starts, he gave up only one run and walked just five batters over 20 innings. That four-year, $50 million contract might end up looking like a goddamn bargain, babes. The resurgent Jimenez will have his work cut out for him against the potent Tiger bats, though. In 17 career starts against Detroit, Jimenez is 5-9 with a 4.93 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, and he’s struck out 77 batters over 96.2 innings. On a positive note, Jimenez was masterful in his lone start against the Tigers last season, taking a no-decision after pitching seven scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Sanchez has performed well short of expectations this year. Before the 2015 season, Sanchez had a 3.39 ERA over 501.1 innings with Detroit, so his current 4.63 ERA is way out of character. The biggest reason for Sanchez’s struggles has been the long ball. He’s currently surrendering 1.4 HR/9 innings, which is nearly double his career rate of 0.8 HR/9. He’s also generating ground balls (40.9%) at his lowest rate since 2008 and fly balls (38.6%) at his highest clip since 2007. The Tigers are hoping that Sanchez is starting to finally return to form, as he’s gone 5-0 with a 2.82 ERA over his last six outings. The 31-year-old throws in the low 90s with a changeup, a slider, a curveball, and a cutter. Over his career, Sanchez’s best pitches have been his slider and changeup. In two career starts against the Birds, Sanchez is 1-0 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, and he’s struck out six batters over 10.1 innings. The last time he faced the O’s was in Game 2 of the 2014 ALDS. He came on in relief and pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts.

Good News: Adam Jones is 2-for-4, Matt Wieters is 1-for-3 with a HR, Jimmy Paredes is 1-for-2, and Chris Davis is 1-for-1 off Sanchez. Ian Kinsler is 4-for-17, Rajai Davis is 0-for-5, J.D. Martinez is 0-for-4, Anthony Gose is 0-for-3, Nick Castellanos is 0-for-2, and Andrew Romine is 0-for-2 off Jimenez. The Tigers are 22-23 at home this season. I guess Clarence Boddicker’s attendance has been slacking.

Bad News: Chris Parmelee is 1-for-13, David Lough is 1-for-6, Travis Snider is 1-for-6, Ryan Flaherty is 0-for-3, Jonathan Schoop is 0-for-3, J.J. Hardy is 0-for-1, Caleb Joseph is 0-for-1, and Steve Pearce is 0-for-1 off Sanchez. Victor Martinez is 8-for-24 with 3 HRs, Alex Avila is 5-for-23 with a HR, Yoenis Cespedes is 3-for-7 with a HR, and Marc Krauss is 3-for-6 off Jimenez. The Birds are 17-26 on the road this season.

Saturday, July 18 at 7:08 p.m. on MASN 2 & WJZ
RHP Chris Tillman (6-7) vs. LHP David Price (9-2)
Tillman’s 2015: 17 GS, 90 IP, 66 Ks, 5.40 ERA, 1.56 WHIP
Tillman’s Last Three Starts: 1-0, 17.2 IP, 16 Ks, 2.04 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
Price’s 2015: 18 GS, 125 IP, 115 Ks, 2.38 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
Price’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 21 IP, 20 Ks, 2.14 ERA, 1.10 WHIP

Despite recording a 4.62 ERA over his last seven outings, the O’s have found a way to win six of Tillman’s last seven starts. Go fucking figure. You’d think they’d be dying of boredom with Tillman averaging an MLB-worst 17.6 pitches per inning this season (Mass). Tillman was actually solid in his last outing, taking a no-decision after holding the Nats to two runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out six over six innings. Standing in the way of Tillman’s quest to post back-to-back quality starts for the first time this season is a Tigers club that he boasts an impressive track record against. In six career starts against Detroit, Tillman is 3-0 with a 3.58 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, and he’s struck out 26 batters over 37.2 innings. In 2014, including Game 1 of the ALDS, Tillman went 2-0 in two starts against the Tigers. He gave up three runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out 11 batters over 13.1 innings.

Price is in the midst of another terrific season, and the five-time All-Star is going to command an obscene amount of money when he hits free agency this winter. Price is 10th in baseball in ERA (2.38), 5th in innings pitched (125), 12th in WAR (3.1), 15th in strikeouts (115), tied for 2nd in complete games (3), and tied for 1st in winning percentage (.818). Since the calendar flipped to June, the 2012 AL Cy Young winner has gone 5-0 in seven starts with a 1.60 ERA while striking out 52 batters over 50.2 innings. The 29-year-old’s best pitch is his mid 90s fastball, and he’s been throwing it 58.9% of the time this season. Price compliments his heater with a changeup, a cutter, and a knuckle curve. In 17 career starts against the O’s, Price is 7-3 with a 2.82 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, and he’s struck out 100 batters over 108.1 innings. Price’s last start against the Birds came in Game 3 of the 2014 ALDS. He was saddled with the series-ending loss after allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out six over eight innings.

Good News: Wieters is 15-for-41 with a HR, Hardy is 13-for-39, Pearce is 4-for-14 with a HR, Flaherty is 1-for-3, and Paredes is 1-for-2 off Price. Jose Iglesias is 2-for-9, Avila is 1-for-8 with a HR, Cespedes is 1-for-8, Castellanos is 1-for-5, Davis is 1-for-5, Krauss is 1-for-5, J.D. Martinez is 1-for-5 with a HR, and Romine is 1-for-5 off Tillman.

Bad News: Jones is 12-for-47, Nolan Reimold is 4-for-25 with a HR, Davis is 4-for-15, Manny Machado is 4-for-15, Snider is 0-for-7, Parmelee is 1-for-5, Schoop is 1-for-5, and Joseph is 0-for-2 off Price. Kinsler is 4-for-18 with a HR, Gose is 6-for-12, and Victor Martinez is 5-for-12 with a HR off Tillman. J.D. Martinez has been tearing the cover off the ball this season. He’s tied for 5th in HRs (25), 8th in slugging (.565), 9th in RBIs (59), and 9th in runs scored (57).

Sunday, July 19 at 1:08 p.m. on MASN 2 & WJZ
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (7-6) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (0-2)
Gonzalez’s 2015: 16 GS, 93.1 IP, 71 Ks, 4.24 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Gonzalez’s Last Three Starts: 1-2, 15.1 IP, 8 Ks, 7.63 ERA, 1.76 WHIP
Verlander’s 2015: 5 GS, 30.1 IP, 18 Ks, 5.34 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
Verlander’s Last Three Starts: 0-1, 18.2 IP, 14 Ks, 4.82 ERA, 1.39 WHIP

Hopefully, the All-Star break provided Gonzalez with the rest that he needed to start pitching like he did before suffering a groin injury. In Gonzo’s four starts since coming off the DL, he’s 2-2 with a 7.52 ERA, and his ERA has ballooned from 3.33 to 4.24 over this span. It won’t be easy for Gonzalez to start turning things around in the second half, as Detroit has hammered the righty over the years. In three starts (four appearances) against the Tigers, Gonzalez is 0-2 with an 8.47 ERA and 2.00 WHIP, and he’s struck out 11 batters over 17 innings. Last season, Gonzalez went 0-1 in one start (two appearances) against Detroit. He gave up nine runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and two walks while striking out two batters over 5.1 innings.

It seems that all those innings and the weight of Kate Upton’s massive titties have worn down the 32-year-old Verlander. Verlander has only made five starts this season due to back problems, and the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner has been getting shellacked. He did look sharp in his most recent outing, though. Verlander took a no-decision against the Twins after giving up one run on five hits and a walk while striking out six over 7.1 innings. The six-time All-Star throws in the low to mid 90s with a curveball, a slider, and a changeup, and all four of his pitches have been graded as above average over the course of his career. In 15 career starts against the O’s, Verlander is 9-2 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, and he’s struck out 88 batters over 105 innings. Last season, including Game 2 of the ALDS, Verlander went 1-1 in three starts against the Birds. He surrendered 10 runs on 17 hits and six walks while striking out 11 batters over 19 innings.

Good News: Hardy is 9-for-36 with 3 HRs, Parmelee is 5-for-16 with a HR, Snider is 5-for-14 with a HR, and Reimold is 2-for-7 off Verlander. Iglesias is 1-for-6, Avila is 1-for-5, Victor Martinez is 1-for-5, and Krauss is 0-for-3 off Gonzalez.

Bad News: Jones is 7-for-36 with a HR, Davis is 5-for-23, Wieters is 3-for-22 with a HR, Lough is 3-for-18, Machado is 2-for-11, Flaherty is 2-for-10, Schoop is 1-for-7, Joseph is 0-for-2, and Pearce is 0-for-2 off Verlander. Gose is 5-for-15 with a HR, Kinsler is 3-for-11 with a HR, Davis is 4-for-12 with 3 HRs, Cespedes is 4-for-8, J.D. Martinez is 1-for-3, Castellanos is 2-for-2, and Romine is 1-for-2 off Gonzalez. The O’s are 7 for their last 81 with RISP (Kubatko).

Enjoy the games, and let’s go O’s!

cover pic: Birds Watcher
stats: Baseball-Reference

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