Orioles vs. Rangers Series Preview

Sports and Bets — June 30, 2014 at 5:16 pm by

The O’s will look to get back on track after dropping three out of four to the worst team in the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays. It was an ugly and frustrating series all the way around, expect for the second game where the Birds won after receiving eight innings of one run ball from Chris Tillman. In the other three games, the starting pitching was absolutely dreadful. Kevin Gausman, Wei-Yin Chen, and Miguel Gonzalez combined to throw only 13 innings and record a 9.00 ERA. So not only were the pitchers terribly ineffective, but they also severely taxed the bullpen to the point where it looks that T.J. McFarland is going to start on Tuesday.

With the starting pitching struggling, the only chance the O’s had to win the series was going to be to outslug the Rays, and the Birds’ offense wasn’t up for the task. Over the four-game series, they were 5-for-29 with runners in scoring position, good for a putrid .172 average. Now the Texas Rangers are coming into town, a team that looks nothing like the club that made three straight playoff appearances from 2010-2012. The Rangers have had a miserable June, going only 9-16. They are ripe for the picking, and winning this series would go a long way towards salvaging a very disappointing home stand up to this point.

The Breakdown

Texas Rangers (37-44) at Baltimore Orioles (42-39)

Season Series: Baltimore leads 2-1

Texas’ Last 10 Games: 2-8, Baltimore’s Last 10 Games: 5-5

Runs: Texas 12th, Baltimore 11th

Home Runs: Texas 27th, Baltimore 3rd

Batting Average: Texas tied for 4th, Baltimore 3rd

On-base Percentage: Texas tied for 9th, Baltimore 15th

Team ERA: Texas 29th, Baltimore 20th

Starting Pitcher ERA: Texas 26th, Baltimore 24th

Bullpen ERA: Texas tied for 26th, Baltimore 19th

Fewest Errors Made: Texas tied for 23rd, Baltimore 4th

Game 1: Monday, June 30, 7:05 on MASN

Joe Saunders LHP (0-4) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez RHP (2-8)

Saunders’ Season Stats: 34 2/3 IP, 20 Ks, 5.19 ERA, 2.05 WHIP

Saunders’ Last Three Starts: 0-2, 14 2/3, 8 Ks, 7.36 ERA, 2.25 WHIP

Jimenez’s Season Stats: 88 IP, 77 Ks, 4.70 ERA, 1.56 WHIP

Jimenez’s Last Three Starts: 0-1, 18 IP, 11 Ks, 3.50 ERA, 1.67 WHIP

Saunders has only made seven starts this season due to a left ankle injury that kept him out of action for roughly two months. Saunders received a no-decision against the O’s earlier this year after holding them to two runs over six innings, despite allowing 10 hits and a walk. Inexplicably, the Birds have been unable to give Saunders a loss over his career. In 10 career starts against the O’s, Saunders is 7-0 with a 3.98 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. Based on all these numbers, it seems pretty evident that the Birds should get their fair share of scoring opportunities against Saunders; they are just going to have to come up with some timely hitting to cash in against the crafty southpaw. Easier said than done, I suppose.

Jimenez has impressive career numbers against Texas, recording a 2.83 ERA over seven starts. He’s also struck out 39 Ranger batters over 41 1/3 innings. Jimenez was solid in his first start against Texas this season, receiving a no-decision after allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings. He surrendered four hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts. Jimenez has clearly struggled this season, and he is definitely responsible for most of the blame, but man, our offense sure isn’t doing him any favors. Jimenez is only receiving 2.69 runs per start which is the fifth worst total in the MLB. I’d like to see us stake Jimenez with an early lead for once to see if that would help him limit his walks.

Good News: Nelson Cruz is 11-for-35 with two home runs, Adam Jones is 7-for-22 with a home run, Delmon Young is 4-for-13 with a home run, and J.J. Hardy is 3-for-11 with a home run off Saunders. Alex Rios is 2-for-17, Elvis Andrus is 2-for-14, Carlos Pena is 0-for-11, and Leonys Martin is 1-for-7 with a home run off Jimenez.

Bad News: Chris Davis is 4-for-21 with a home run, and Professional Hitter Steve Pearce is 1-for-5 off Saunders. Oriole Killer Adrian Beltre is 8-for-20 with two home runs off Jimenez. Over 88 career games against the O’s, Beltre is slashing .291/.340/.541 with 22 home runs and 58 RBIs. Manny Machado’s five-game suspension was upheld, and he will begin to serve it tonight.

Game 2: Tuesday, July 1, 7:05 on MASN

Nick Martinez RHP (1-5) vs. T.J. McFarland LHP (0-1)

Martinez’s Season Stats: 62 IP, 28 Ks, 4.65 ERA, 1.69 WHIP

Martinez’s Last Three Starts: 0-2, 15 1/3 IP, 6 Ks, 4.70 ERA, 1.63 WHIP

McFarland’s Season Stats: 26 2/3 IP, 16 Ks, 2.70 ERA, 1.39 WHIP

Martinez, the 23-year old rookie, has had a brutal June after a sensational start to his season. In April and May, Martinez recorded a 2.81 ERA and 2.70 ERA, respectively. In June, he’s recorded a 7.94 ERA. The Birds played a role in this high ERA after knocking Martinez around on June 4. Martinez was credited with the loss after allowing six runs (four earned) on nine hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings.

As of this writing, the Orioles haven’t announced their starter for Tuesday’s game, but all signs are currently pointing towards McFarland. McFarland’s only career start in the big leagues came last season against the New York Yankees. McFarland received a no-decision after allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk, with four strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings. For his career, McFarland has thrown 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief against Texas, including 2 2/3 innings this season.

Good News: As a team, the O’s have hit .391/.444/.696 with two home runs over 23 at-bats against Martinez. In 57 career games against Texas, Jones is slashing .299/.344/.512 with 10 home runs and 35 RBIs. Jones has also been red-hot in the month of June, hitting .339/.371/.615 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs. Andrus is 0-for-2, and Shin-Soo Choo is 0-for-2 off McFarland.

Bad News: In June, Davis has slashed only .183/.303/.398, albeit with 6 home runs and 16 RBIs. He’s also struck out 34 times, so it’s clear that the big fella is not seeing the ball very well at the plate right now. As a team, the Rangers have hit .300/.417/.400 over 10 at-bats against McFarland. In 124 career games against the Birds, Rios has slashed .290/.340/.460 with 18 home runs, 73 RBIs, and 24 stolen bases.

Game 3: Wednesday, July 2, 7:05 on MASN 2

Nick Tepesch RHP (3-3) vs. Chris Tillman RHP (7-4)

Tepesch’s Season Stats: 44 1/3 IP, 29 Ks, 3.65 ERA, 1.35 WHIP

Tepesch’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 18 2/3 IP, 11 Ks, 1.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP

Tillman’s Season Stats: 99 IP, 62 Ks, 4.18 ERA, 1.39 WHIP

Tillman’s Last Three Starts: 2-1, 22 IP, 4 Ks, 1.64 ERA, .95 WHIP

Tepesch began the year in the minors before earning his call-up after recording a 1.58 ERA over seven starts in AAA. The 25-year-old has been solid for Texas over his eight starts this season, and he’s coming off his best outing of the year. He earned the win over the Minnesota Twins after pitching 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball. He allowed three hits and two walks while striking out five. Tepesch has never pitched against the Orioles in his young career.

Tillman has been pitching much better as of late. Over five June starts, Tillman was 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA. However, he’s only struck out eight batters over those 29 innings, and he has posted a 1.38 WHIP, so I’m hesitant to say that Tillman has turned the corner. Tillman’s only bad start in June came against Texas. On June 5, he received a no-decision after allowing five runs on six hits and three walks over a single inning of work. Lifetime against the Rangers, Tillman is 3-1 over five starts with a 4.66 ERA and 1.31 WHIP.

Good News: David Lough is the only Oriole to ever face Tepesch, and he is 1-for-3. In 71 career games against Texas, Markakis is slashing .303/.380/.513 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs. Pena is 1-for-9, Rios is 1-for-10 with a home run, and Chris Gimenez is 1-for-5 off Tillman.

Bad News: Andrus is 5-for-11, and Beltre is 4-for-9 with a home run off Tillman. Choo is only 1-for-7, but his hit was a home run, and he also has walked twice off Tillman.

Game 4: Thursday, July 3, 7:05 on MASN

Yu Darvish RHP (8-4) vs. Wei-Yin Chen LHP (7-3)

Darvish’s Season Stats: 104 1/3 IP, 128 Ks, 2.42 ERA, 1.18 WHIP

Darvish’s Last Three Starts: 1-2, 19 IP, 27 Ks, 3.79 ERA, 1.42 WHIP

Chen’s Season Stats: 92 1/3 IP, 65 Ks, 4.19 ERA, 1.30 WHIP

Chen’s Last Three Starts: 0-1, 15 2/3 IP, 8 Ks, 6.32 ERA, 1.53 WHIP

Darvish is on pace for his third All-Star appearance in as many seasons in the MLB. Darvish finished second in last year’s AL Cy Young voting, and lead all of baseball with 277 strikeouts. Darvish was credited with the loss in his only career start against the O’s in the 2012 AL Wild Card Game. Darvish pitched 6 2/3 strong innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits with seven strikeouts.

Similar to the O’s pitching situation on Tuesday, the team has yet to officially announce their starter for Thursday, but Chen looks to be the odds-on favorite. Chen would be pitching on normal rest against a team that he has had success against in the past. Over three career starts against Texas, Chen is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Chen has also pitched very well over the month of June, recording a 3.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over six starts.

Good News: Hardy is 2-for-3, Davis is 1-for-3, and Ryan Flaherty is 1-for-3 off Darvish. Beltre is 1-for-9, Pena is 1-for-5, and Martin is 0-for-3 off Chen.

Bad News: Young is 1-for-8, and Jones is 0-for-2 off Darvish. Andrus is 3-for-8, Gimenez is 3-for-6, Rios is 3-for-6, and Choo is 2-for-4 with a home run off Chen.

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

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