Orioles vs. Mariners Series Preview

Sports and Bets — May 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm by

The Birds will wrap up their nine-game homestand with a three-game series against the Mariners. The O’s went 5-2 against the Mariners last year in some very hard fought, low scoring ballgames. The Birds only outscored the Mariners by an 18-14 margin, with two of the games going to extra innings and five being decided by one run. Nelson Cruz will make his return to Camden Yards tonight, and I really hope that he gets a standing ovation in his first at-bat. I feel that anything less would be a disservice to Nellie after his amazing 2014 season with the O’s. Since I won’t be at the game tonight, I’m going to pay my respects to Cruz by watching all 42 of the homers he hit as an Oriole while listening to Sarah Mclachlan and sobbing in a Natty Boh.

The Breakdown
Baltimore Orioles (16-19) vs. Seattle Mariners (17-20)
Last 10 Games: Baltimore’s 4-6, Seattle’s 6-4
Runs: Baltimore’s tied for 17th, Seattle’s tied for 26th
Home Runs: Baltimore’s tied for 6th, Seattle’s tied for 3rd
Batting Average: Baltimore’s 13th, Seattle’s 24th
On-Base Percentage: Baltimore’s 17th, Seattle’s 27th
Team ERA: Baltimore’s 16th, Seattle’s 13th
Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 19th, Seattle’s 9th
Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 18th, Seattle’s 16th
Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s 17th, Seattle’s tied for 18th

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: 15-day DL (left shoulder)
C Matt Wieters: 60-day DL (right elbow)
INF Everth Cabrera: 15-day DL (left foot)
INF Ryan Flaherty: 15-day DL (right groin)
INF Jonathan Schoop: 15-day DL (right knee)

Seattle’s Injury Report
P Hisashi Iwakuma: 15-day DL (right lat)
P Tyler Olson: 15-day DL (right knee)
OF Austin Jackson: 15-day DL (right ankle)

Tuesday, May 19 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN 2
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (4-2) vs. RHP Taijuan Walker (1-4)
Gonzalez’s Season: 7 GS, 43 IP, 34 Ks, 2.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
Gonzalez’s Last Three Starts: 2-1, 19.1 IP, 13 Ks, 2.33 ERA, 0.93 WHIP
Walker’s Season: 7 GS, 33.2 IP, 33 Ks, 7.22 ERA, 1.72 WHIP
Walker’s Last Three Starts: 0-2, 14 IP, 14 Ks, 7.71 ERA, 1.57 WHIP

Gonzalez was sensational in his last start, earning the win against the Blue Jays after giving up one run (none earned) on three hits and three walks while striking out five over 7.2 innings. Gonzo will look to keep his stellar 2015 campaign going and record the Birds’ fifth straight quality start in the series opener. Gonzalez has made two career starts against the Mariners, and they both came last season. Gonzo wasn’t particularly sharp, as he went 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA and 1.64 WHIP while striking out only two batters over 11 innings.

After posting a 2.89 ERA in 53 innings over the past two seasons, Walker was a popular breakout candidate for 2015. But so far this season, the 22-year-old has struggled to live up to his immense potential. Walker was rated as the 11th best prospect in baseball before the 2014 season, and he boasts an impressive repertoire of pitches. He throws a splitter, a cutter, and a curveball to compliment his mid-90s fastball, which he’s been throwing 65.4% of the time this season. Walker’s had trouble pitching deep into ballgames, as he’s pitched less than five innings three times and more than six innings only twice in his seven starts. This will be Walker’s first career start against the Orioles.

Good News: David Lough is 1-for-2 off Walker. Robinson Cano is 3-for-27 with a HR off Gonzalez, Cruz is 2-for-8, Kyle Seager is 1-for-5, Logan Morrison is 1-for-4, Seth Smith is 0-for-3, and Jesus Sucre is 0-for-2 off Gonzalez. Through the first 15 games of May, Manny Machado is slashing .304/.361/.482 with 2 HRs, 4 RBIs, 9 runs scored, and 2 steals.

Bad News: Alejandro De Aza is 0-for-2, and Jimmy Paredes is 0-for-1 off Walker. Dustin Ackley is 4-for-6 with a HR, Chris Taylor is 4-for-5, and Mike Zunino is 2-for-3 off Gonzalez. In 41 career games against the O’s, Cruz is batting .344/.392/.544 with 6 HRs, 31 RBIs, and 28 runs scored. He also leads all of baseball with 15 home runs on the season.

Wednesday, May 20 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN 2
LHP Wei-Yin Chen (1-2) vs. LHP Roenis Elias (0-1)
Chen’s Season: 7 GS, 42.2 IP, 34 Ks, 2.53 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
Chen’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 20 IP, 18 Ks, 2.25 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
Elias’ Season: 4 GS, 25 IP, 21 Ks, 3.24 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
Elias’ Last Three Starts: 0-1, 19.1 IP, 15 Ks, 3.26 ERA, 1.34 WHIP

Chen was a hard-luck loser in his last start. He held the Angels to two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out seven over seven innings. Chen’s really been throwing the ball well lately, as he’s recorded four consecutive quality starts. Not only is Chen in a groove, but he also has excellent career numbers against the Mariners. In six starts, he’s 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, and he’s struck out 33 batters over 39 innings. In his two starts against Seattle last season, Chen went 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA and 0.78 WHIP while striking out 11 batters over 15.1 innings. Chen and Elias faced off last August 1, and the Birds came out on top with a 2-1 victory.

As a rookie in 2014, Elias went 10-12 with a 3.85 ERA and 1.31 WHIP while striking out 143 batters over 163.2 innings. Despite this solid rookie season, Elias started 2015 in the minors. When Iwakuma when down with an injury, Elias rejoined the big league club, and he’s done more than an acceptable job of filling in. Elias throws in the low-90s, and he mostly relies on his off-speed pitches. He’s thrown a curveball or changeup 46.4% of the time this season. The 26-year-old has made two career starts against the O’s, and they both came last season. Elias went 0-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 1.41 WHIP while striking out 13 batters over 10.2 innings.

Good News: Machado is 3-for-5, Professional Hitter Steve Pearce is 1-for-3, and Delmon Young is 1-for-2 off Elias. Cano is 7-for-28 with a HR, Seager is 1-for-17, Ackley is 3-for-13, Cruz is 1-for-6, Zunino is 0-for-6, Brad Miller is 0-for-4, Smith is 0-for-2, and Rickie Weeks is 0-for-2 off Chen.

Bad News: Adam Jones is 0-for-6, Chris Davis is 0-for-5, J.J. Hardy is 1-for-4, and Caleb Joseph is 1-for-4 off Elias. Chris Taylor is 2-for-6 off Chen. Miller won last week’s AL Player of the Week award after hitting .429 with 4 HRs, 5 RBIs, and 6 runs scored (Kubatko).

Thursday, May 21 at 12:35 p.m. on MASN & MLBN
RHP Chris Tillman (2-5) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (3-1)
Tillman’s Season: 7 GS, 38.1 IP, 27 Ks, 6.34 ERA, 1.64 WHIP
Tillman’s Last Three Starts: 0-3, 19.1 IP, 14 Ks, 5.12 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
Happ’s Season: 7 GS, 45.1 IP, 35 Ks, 2.98 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
Happ’s Last Three Starts: 1-0, 18 IP, 17 Ks, 4.00 ERA, 1.22 WHIP

Tillman had to take a couple extra days of rest in-between starts due to lower back tightness. Hopefully, the back pain and the horrible Tillman imposter that made his first seven starts are both gone. Throughout his career, Tillman has loved facing the organization that traded him away. In six starts against the Mariners, Tillman is 6-0 with a 2.03 ERA and 0.85 WHIP, and he’s struck out 32 batters over 40 innings. In his lone start against Seattle last season, Tillman earned the win after pitching seven scoreless innings. He gave up four hits and no walks while striking out six.

The Mariners traded Michael Saunders to the Blue Jays for Happ during the winter, and it looks to have been a real shrewd move for Seattle. Happ has held opponents to two or less runs in six of his seven starts this season (Orioles/MLB). Happ throws a curveball, a changeup, and a slider to go along with his low-90s fastball, which he’s been throwing 64.0% of the time this season. Even though he’ll never blow hitters away with his velocity, Happ’s fastball is easily his best pitch. The 32-year-old southpaw has given the Birds trouble over the years. In seven career starts (eight appearances) against the O’s, Happ is 2-3 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, and he’s struck out 49 batters over 46 innings. Last season, Happ went 2-2 in four starts (five appearances) with a 3.10 ERA and 1.07 WHIP while striking out 30 batters over 29 innings.

Good News: Jones is 7-for-23 with a HR, Pearce is 6-for-18 with 2 HRs, and Paredes is 1-for-3 off Happ. Seager is 2-for-13, Ackley is 1-for-12, Cruz is 1-for-8 with a HR, Miller is 0-for-5, and Zunino is 0-for-2 off Tillman.

Bad News: Hardy is 3-for-17, Young is 4-for-19, Machado is 2-for-12, Davis is 1-for-6, Joseph is 1-for-6 with a HR, and De Aza is 1-for-5 off Happ. Cano is 12-for-28 with 2 HRs, Willie Bloomquist is 2-for-3, Smith is 1-for-3, and Morrison is 1-for-2 off Tillman. In 161 career games against the Birds, Cano is hitting .334/.384/.549 with 29 HRs, 106 RBIs, and 113 runs scored.

Enjoy the games, and let’s go O’s!

stats: Baseball-Reference
cover pic: CBS DC

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