Orioles vs. Astros Series Preview

Sports and Bets — May 25, 2015 at 1:12 pm by

After losing two out of three to the Marlins in a very disappointing road trip, the Birds will kick off an eight-game homestand with a three-game series against the Astros. Houston has been rolling this season, as they’re 1st in the AL West and have the 2nd best record in baseball. The O’s went 4-3 against the Astros last season, but this will be their first meeting with the new and improved 2015 club. Somebody needs to pick up the phone and get Steve Clevenger’s ass out of Norfolk. This languishing under .500 shit is for the figurative birds.

The Breakdown
Baltimore Orioles (19-22) vs. Houston Astros (29-16)
Last 10 Games: Baltimore’s 5-5, Houston’s 7-3
Runs: Baltimore’s tied for 16th, Houston’s 5th
Home Runs: Baltimore’s tied for 8th, Houston’s 1st
Batting Average: Baltimore’s 9th, Houston’s 29th
On-Base Percentage: Baltimore’s 14th, Houston’s 24th
Team ERA: Baltimore’s 16th, Houston’s 7th
Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 23rd, Houston’s 22nd
Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 12th, Houston’s 2nd
Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s tied for 14th, Houston’s tied for 11th

Baltimore’s Injury Report
P Jason Garcia: 15-day DL (right shoulder)
P Kevin Gausman: 15-day DL (right shoulder)
P Bud Norris: 15-day DL (bronchitis)
P Wesley Wright: 60-day DL (left shoulder)
C Matt Wieters: 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery)
INF Ryan Flaherty: 15-day DL (right groin)
INF Jonathan Schoop: 15-day DL (right knee)

Houston’s Injury Report
P Samuel Deduno: 15-day DL (back)
P Brett Oberholtzer: 15-day DL (left index finger)
P Brad Peacock: 15-day DL (left intercostal)
INF Jed Lowrie: 60-day DL (thumb surgery)

Monday, May 25 at 1:35 p.m. on MASN
LHP Wei-Yin Chen (1-3) vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-0)
Chen’s 2015: 8 GS, 49.2 IP, 38 Ks, 2.90 ERA, 1.09 WHIP
Chen’s Last Three Starts: 1-2, 21 IP, 18 Ks, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Keuchel’s 2015 Stats: 9 GS, 64.2 IP, 46 Ks, 1.67 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
Keuchel’s Last Three Starts: 3-0, 19.2 IP, 16 Ks, 3.66 ERA, 1.47 WHIP

After a couple brief outings earlier in the season, Chen has done a great job of pitching deep into ballgames for the Birds. Over his last five starts, Chen has averaged seven innings per start, and he has an ERA of 2.83. Chen has been fantastic against the Astros over his career, going 3-0 in three starts with a 2.75 ERA and 0.97 WHIP while striking out 19 batters over 19.2 innings. Last season, Chen went 2-0 in two starts against Houston with a 2.19 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, and he struck out 10 batters over 12.1 innings.

Keuchel came out of nowhere last season to put up some gaudy numbers. After posting an ERA over five in each of his first two seasons, Keuchel went 12-9 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.18 WHIP while striking out 146 batters over 200 innings. The southpaw also won a Gold Glove and lead the AL with five complete games. Keuchel’s picked up right where he left off, as his 1.67 ERA is the best in the AL, and he’s the first Astros starter to begin a season 6-0 since that dickhead Roger Clemens went 9-0 in 2004 (MLB/Orioles). The 27-year-old throws a fastball, a slider, a changeup, and a cutter. Despite only throwing in the high 80s, Keuchel’s fastball is by far his best pitch, and he throws it 58.1% of the time. Keuchel is excellent when it comes to keeping the ball in the park. He’s allowed one homer in 64.2 innings this season, which is tied for 1st in baseball among qualified pitchers. In two career starts against the Birds, Keuchel is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.33 WHIP, and he’s struck out six batters over 12 innings. In his lone start against the O’s last season, Keuchel took the loss after giving up three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three over six innings.

Good News: J.J. Hardy is 2-for-6, Manny Machado is 2-for-6, Alejandro De Aza is 3-for-5, and Caleb Joseph is 1-for-2 off Keuchel. Chris Carter is 2-for-10 with a HR, Jonathan Villar is 1-for-8, and Jason Castro is 0-for-3 off Chen. In 66 career games against the Astros, Hardy is slashing .301/.348/.508 with 10 HRs, 33 RBIs, and 33 runs scored.

Bad News: Chris Davis is 1-for-6, Adam Jones is 1-for-6, Steve Pearce is 0-for-4, and Everth Cabrera is 0-for-2 off Keuchel. Jose Altuve is 4-for-10, George Springer is 2-for-6, and Colby Rasmus is 1-for-3 off Chen. Brian Matusz has received an eight-game suspension for having a foreign substance on his arm during Saturday’s game. Eddie Harris thinks that’s bullshit.

Tuesday, May 26 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN
RHP Chris Tillman (2-5) vs. RHP Scott Feldman (3-4)
Tillman’s 2015: 8 GS, 41.1 IP, 29 Ks, 6.10 ERA, 1.62 WHIP
Tillman’s Last Three Starts: 0-2, 15.1 IP, 9 Ks, 5.87 ERA, 1.76 WHIP
Feldman’s 2015: 9 GS, 54 IP, 35 Ks, 5.17 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
Feldman’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 19.2 IP, 17 Ks, 4.58 ERA, 1.32 WHIP

Due to ineffectiveness, back trouble, and rain, Tillman is looking for his first win since April 18 (MLB/Orioles). Tillman looked solid in his last outing before a rain delay knocked him out of the game. He held Seattle to one run on one hit and three walks while striking out two over three innings. Tillman has posted terrific numbers against Houston over his career, going 2-1 in three starts with a 2.41 ERA and 1.13 WHIP while striking out 14 batters over 18.2 innings. Last season, Tillman went 1-1 in two starts against Houston with a 3.09 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, and he struck out six batters over 11.2 innings.

Our old pal Scott Feldman will be taking the ball in the second game of the series. Feldman throws a cutter, a sinking fastball, a curveball, and a splitter. Feldman only throws in the high 80s to low 90s, but he’s been throwing his sinking fastball or cutter a combined 74.2% of the time this season. The 32-year-old’s been roughed up by the Birds over his career, going 4-2 in eight starts (14 appearances) with a 4.85 ERA and 1.49 WHIP while striking out 28 batters over 55.2 innings. Last season, Feldman went 0-1 in two starts against the O’s with an 8.74 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, and he struck out nine batters over 11.1 innings.

Good News: Hardy is 3-for-8, Machado is 5-for-8 with 2 HRs, Davis is 2-for-5, David Lough is 4-for-5 with a HR, and Pearce is 1-for-2 with a HR off Feldman. Altuve is 2-for-8, Springer is 0-for-6, Marwin Gonzalez is 1-for-5, Hank Conger is 1-for-4, Luis Valbuena is 1-for-4, and Carter is 0-for-2 off Tillman.

Bad News: Jones is 2-for-20, De Aza is 4-for-18, Delmon Young is 4-for-17, Cabrera is 1-for-7, and Travis Snider is 1-for-5 off Feldman. Rasmus is 6-for-20 with 2 HRs, Castro is 2-for-8 with a HR, and Villar is 1-for-2 off Tillman. In 11 career games against the Orioles, Altuve is batting .409/.447/.523 with a HR, 5 RBIs, 6 runs scored, and 6 steals.

Wednesday, May 27 at 4:35 p.m. on MASN & MLBN
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3) vs. RHP Collin McHugh (5-2)
Jimenez’s 2015 Stats: 8 GS, 44.2 IP, 42 Ks, 2.82 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
Jimenez’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 18 IP, 19 Ks, 3.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
McHugh’s 2015: 9 GS, 57.2 IP, 47 Ks, 4.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
McHugh’s Last Three Starts: 1-2, 18.2 IP, 14 Ks, 5.79 ERA, 1.45 WHIP

In the series finale, Jimenez will look to rebound from a rough outing against the Marlins. In the righty’s last start, he was no-decisioned after giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out four over four innings. The Astros are a nice bounce back opponent for Jimenez, as he boasts sensational career numbers against them. In nine starts, Jimenez is 4-0 with a 2.24 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, and he’s struck out 53 batters over 56.1 innings. In his lone start against Houston last season, Jimenez took a no-decision after holding them to one run on three hits and three walks while striking out eight over six innings.

After struggling in brief stints in the majors in 2012 and 2013, McHugh enjoyed a tremendous 2014 campaign. He went 11-9 in 25 starts with a 2.73 ERA and 1.02 WHIP while striking out 157 batters over 154.2 innings. The 27-year-old hasn’t quite been able to emulate that success so far this season, but he has thrown the ball very well in his last two starts against two dangerous offenses. Against Toronto and Detroit, McHugh went 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA and 1.21 WHIP while striking out 11 batters over 14 innings. McHugh throws a slider, a curveball, and a changeup to go along with his low 90s fastball. McHugh’s slider is his best pitch, but he might be falling too much in love with it this season. In 2014, 40.0% of his pitches were fastballs and 31.5% of his pitches were sliders. In 2015, 27.5% of his pitches have been fastballs and a whopping 43.7 % of his pitches have been sliders. McHugh’s lone career start against the Orioles came last season, and he took a no-decision after surrendering two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four over 6.1 innings.

Good News: Hardy is 1-for-3, Jones is 1-for-3 with a HR, De Aza is 1-for-2, Jimmy Paredes is 1-for-2, and Pearce is 1-for-1 off McHugh. Carter is 1-for-6, Villar is 0-for-5, Castro is 1-for-4, Springer is 0-for-3, and Valbuena is 0-for-2 off Jimenez. In the month of May, the Orioles have the 5th best ERA in baseball.

Bad News: Machado is 0-for-3 off McHugh. Rasmus is 10-for-27 with a HR, Altuve is 4-for-11, Jake Marisnick is 2-for-3, and Gonzalez is 1-for-2 off Jimenez. In the month of May, the Orioles have scored the 28th most runs and have a 9-12 record.

stats: Baseball-Reference
cover pic: CT Post

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