Orioles vs. Nationals Series Preview

Sports and Bets — July 9, 2014 at 2:39 pm by

The Birds are back at the Yard tonight for a two-game series against the Nationals. After yesterday’s rainout and the results around the MLB, the O’s are in first by 2.5 games, and the Nationals are in first by a .001 edge in winning percentage. There’s no better way to increase the drama of The Battle of the Beltways than by having two first place ball clubs duke it out.

In related news, thank God MASN got rid of that shuffling announcing crew featuring both Oriole and National broadcasters for these games. It was just dreadful listening to those D.C. slapdicks. I’d rather jog into oncoming traffic than listen to Bob Carpenter and FP Santangelo attempt to call a baseball game. Show ‘em how it’s done, Gary!

The Breakdown

Baltimore Orioles (49-40) at Washington Nationals (48-40)

Baltimore’s Last 10 Games: 7-3, Washington’s Last 10 Games: 7-3

Runs: Baltimore 8th, Washington tied for 18th

Home Runs: Baltimore 2nd, Washington tied for 20th

Batting Average: Baltimore 3rd, Washington 20th

On-base Percentage: Baltimore tied for 11th, Washington 20th

Team ERA: Baltimore 17th, Washington 1st

Starting Pitcher ERA: Baltimore 22nd, Washington tied for 4th

Bullpen ERA: Baltimore 14th, Washington 3rd

Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore 6th, Washington tied for 15th

Game 1: Wednesday, July 9, 7:05 PM on MASN

Bud Norris RHP (7-5) vs. Doug Fister RHP (7-2)

Norris’ Season Stats: 87 IP, 60 Ks, 3.62 ERA, 1.16 WHIP

Norris’ Last Three Starts: 3-0, 19 2/3 IP, 15 Ks, 0.92 ERA, 0.98 WHIP

Fister’s Season Stats: 70 2/3 IP, 42 Ks, 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP

Fister’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 21 IP, 9 Ks, 2.57 ERA, 0.95 WHIP

This will be Norris’ first start since a trip to the 15-day disabled list with a groin strain. Before the injury, Norris was doing his best pitching of the season. In his four June starts, Norris was 4-0 with a 2.55 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. Norris has solid numbers against Washington from his days in the National League. He’s 2-0 in three career starts, with a 3.66 ERA and 1.47 WHIP against them. Norris hasn’t been sharp in Interleague play over his career, but he has been decent this year. In his two starts, he’s 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.

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Fister missed a little more than the first month of the season with a right lat strain, but it has been smooth sailing for the sinkerballer since his return. At the time of the trade, most baseball experts thought that the Nationals got the better of the Tigers in the trade that sent Fister to D.C. this past winter, but it looks more and more like an outright fleecing these days. Fister has only walked six batters this season to post a miniscule 0.8 walks per nine innings. This would be the best BB/9 in the majors if Fister had thrown enough innings to qualify. On a positive note, the O’s have had success against Fister in the past. In six career starts against the Birds, Fister has a 5.30 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. Fister has also struggled in his two career Interleague play starts, recording a 6.10 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.

Good News: Nelson Cruz is 8-for-24 with a home run, Nick Markakis is 8-for-19 with a home run, Adam Jones is 5-for-14, Delmon Young is 4-for-15 with a home run, and Chris Davis is 3-for-10 with two home runs off Fister. Jayson Werth is 2-for-14, Danny Espinosa is 2-for-10, and Nate McLouth is 0-for-9 off Norris. In six July games, Adam LaRoche has batted .091/.167/.091 with no home runs, a RBI, and a run scored.

Bad News: J.J. Hardy is 4-for-22 off Fister. Ryan Zimmerman is 4-for-11 with two home runs, Wilson Ramos is 3-for-9, and LaRoche is 2-for-5 off Norris. In six July games, Davis has hit .125/.192/.250 with a home run, three RBIs, and a run scored.

Game 2: Thursday, July 10, 7:05 PM on MASN

Wei-Yin Chen LHP (8-3) vs. Gio Gonzalez LHP (6-4)

Chen’s Season Stats: 98 1/3 IP, 69 Ks, 4.12 ERA, 1.30 WHIP

Chen’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 15 IP, 9 Ks, 6.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP

Gonzalez’s Season Stats: 76 2/3 IP, 78 Ks, 3.52 ERA, 1.20 WHIP

Gonzalez’s Last Three Starts: 3-0, 21 IP, 19 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.76 WHIP

Chen pitched very well in his last outing, earning the win against Texas after allowing two runs on six hits and two walks, with four strikeouts over six innings. Chen has struggled mightily against the Nationals over his career. He’s 0-2 in two starts, with a 7.71 ERA and 2.04 WHIP against them. Over his eight career Interleague play starts, Chen has a 4.89 ERA and 1.35 WHIP.

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Gonzalez spent a month from mid-May to mid-June on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. He has now made four starts since his return, and after giving up four runs in five innings against the Astros, he has been absolutely dominant. He will take a 22 inning scoreless streak into this game. Over his career, Gonzalez has had mixed results against the Orioles over six starts. He’s recorded a 3.75 ERA, and has allowed only one home run in 36 innings. But he’s gone only 1-3, and has a 1.56 WHIP. Gonzalez also hasn’t been very effective in Interleague play over his 23 career starts, going 5-7 with a 4.48 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.

Good News: Markakis is 5-for-16, Steve Pearce is 2-for-6, and Manny Machado is 2-for-3 off Gonzalez. Espinosa is 1-for-6, Zimmerman is 1-for-6, Ian Desmond is 1-for-5, and Denard Span is 0-for-4 off Chen. Through seven July games, Cruz is slashing .433/.469/.833 with three home runs, seven RBIs, seven runs scored, and two stolen bases.

Bad News: Young is 4-for-20, Jones is 4-for-19, Cruz is 0-for-10, Hardy is 2-for-10, Davis is 1-for-6, and Nick Hundley is 0-for-6 off Gonzalez. Through six July games, Werth is hitting .409/.500/.909 with two home runs, nine RBIs, and six runs scored. Jose Lobaton is 3-for-8, Bryce Harper is 2-for-5, LaRoche is 2-for-3 with a home run, and fucking Stephen Strasburg is 2-for-2 with a home run off Chen. Let’s hope that the Birds don’t lose another game to a pinch-hit walk-off from a pitcher this season. My heart or television remote can’t handle another loss like that.

Enjoy the games everybody, and let’s go O’s!

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