Orioles vs. Rays Series Preview

Sports and Bets — August 31, 2015 at 6:33 pm by

The O’s are in a complete tailspin. They went 1-6 on their road trip, and they’re now 5.5 games back of the Rangers for the 2nd Wild Card spot. They’ve gone 11-16 in August, and they’ve lost 10 of their last 11 games. Over these last 11 contests, they’ve averaged only 2.73 runs while giving up 5.55 runs. That’s not exactly a recipe for success, babes. The Birds are back in Baltimore for a quick three-game homestand against the Rays, and this is going to have to be the beginning of an absolutely torrid stretch run if the O’s are going to return to the playoffs. It’s now or fucking never.

The Breakdown
Baltimore Orioles (63-67) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (64-66)
Season Series: Baltimore leads 7-5
Last 10 Games: Baltimore’s 1-9, Tampa Bay’s 5-5
Runs: Baltimore’s tied for 9th, Tampa Bay’s 28th
Home Runs: Baltimore’s 4th, Tampa Bay’s 17th
Batting Average: Baltimore’s 15th, Tampa Bay’s 24th
On-Base Percentage: Baltimore’s 25th, Tampa Bay’s 19th
Team ERA: Baltimore’s 14th, Tampa Bay’s 9th
Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 25th, Tampa Bay’s 8th
Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 5th, Tampa Bay’s 18th
Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s 1st, Tampa Bay’s 21st

Baltimore’s Injury Report
P Chaz Roe: 15-day DL (right shoulder; will be activated on Wednesday)
P Mike Wright: 15-day DL (left calf; currently on rehab assignment)
INF J.J. Hardy: 15-day DL (groin)

Tampa’s Injury Report
P Jeff Beliveau: 60-day DL (torn left labrum; out for season)
P Alex Cobb: 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery; out for season)
P Jake McGee: 15-day DL (left knee surgery)
P Burch Smith: 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery; out for season)
C Curt Casali: 15-day DL (left hamstring)
OF Desmond Jennings: 15-day DL (left knee)
OF Steven Souza: 15-day DL (left hand)

Monday, August 31 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN
LHP Wei-Yin Chen (8-6) vs. RHP Chris Archer (11-10)
Chen’s 2015: 25 GS, 156 IP, 125 Ks, 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
Chen’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 18.2 IP, 14 Ks, 2.89 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Archer’s 2015: 27 GS, 175 IP, 217 Ks, 2.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP
Archer’s Last Three Starts: 1-2, 20.1 IP, 27 Ks, 4.87 ERA, 1.28 WHIP

Chen was solid in his last start, earning the win against the Royals after giving up three runs on 10 hits and a walk while striking out four over 6.2 innings. Chen has been excellent in the month of August, going 3-0 in five starts with a 2.90 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while striking out 23 batters over 31 innings. He’ll be looking for his fifth straight quality start against a very familiar foe, as Chen’s 17 career starts against Tampa are the most he’s made against a single opponent. In these 17 starts, Chen is 4-5 with a 3.42 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, and he’s struck out 63 batters over 100 innings. Chen’s already faced the Rays four times this season, and he’s gone 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA and 1.24 WHIP while striking out 15 batters over 22.2 innings. His last start against Tampa came on July 26, and he picked up the win after holding them to two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out three over 5.1 innings.

Archer has been a strikeout machine this season, as his 217 Ks are the 4th most in the MLB, his 5.05 K/BB is 10th best, and his 11.16 K/9 is 3rd best. Even though Archer’s stuff is as nasty as it gets, the Birds have surprisingly given the 26-year-old hurler trouble over the years. In eight career appearances (seven starts) against the O’s, Archer is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA and 1.45 WHIP, and he’s struck out 43 batters over 42.2 innings. This season, Archer has gone 0-2 in three starts against the Birds with a 4.08 ERA and 1.36 WHIP while striking out 19 batters over 17.2 innings. His last start against the O’s came on July 24, and he took a no-decision after surrendering one run on five hits and two walks while striking out nine over six innings.

Good News: Manny Machado is 6-for-16, Ryan Flaherty is 5-for-14, Matt Wieters is 4-for-12, Chris Davis is 4-for-10 with a HR, Steve Pearce is 3-for-8 with 2 HRs, Caleb Joseph is 2-for-6 with a HR, and Jonathan Schoop is 1-for-2 off Archer. Asdrubal Cabrera is 0-for-11, Tim Beckham is 2-for-10, and Rene Rivera is 1-for-6 off Chen. The O’s are 37-25 at home this season.

Bad News: Adam Jones is 2-for-20, Jimmy Paredes is 1-for-7, and Steve Clevenger is 0-for-2 off Archer. Evan Longoria is 9-for-31 with a HR, Logan Forsythe is 7-for-22 with 3 HRs, James Loney is 6-for-19 with a HR, Brandon Guyer is 5-for-16, Daniel Nava is 7-for-16 with a HR, Joey Butler is 3-for-9 with a HR, Kevin Kiermaier is 4-for-9 with a HR, and J.P. Arencibia is 2-for-2 off Chen. The Rays are 23-14 vs. left-handed starters this season.

Tuesday, September 1 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN & MLBN
RHP Chris Tillman (9-9) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (1-2)
Tillman’s 2015: 24 GS, 135.2 IP, 92 Ks, 4.58 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
Tillman’s Last Three Starts: 1-2, 19.2 IP, 10 Ks, 4.12 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
Smyly’s 2015: 6 GS, 30.2 IP, 32 Ks, 3.82 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
Smyly’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 14 IP, 11 Ks, 5.14 ERA, 1.79 WHIP

Tillman wasn’t very sharp in his last start, taking the loss against the Royals after allowing four runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out one over six innings. Since needing to get a start pushed back due to an ankle injury, Tillman is 1-2 over his last four outings with a 5.73 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. He’ll try to get back on track against a Rays club that he’s enjoyed success against in the past. In 18 career starts against Tampa, Tillman is 5-8 with a 3.87 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, and he’s struck out 72 batters over 107 innings. This season, Tillman has gone 1-2 in four starts against the Rays with a 3.20 ERA and 1.14 WHIP while striking out 22 batters over 25.1 innings. Tilly’s last start against Tampa came on July 24, and he took a no-decision after holding them to one run on two hits and three walks while striking out four over seven innings.

Smyly has only made three starts since returning from a torn labrum, and judging by the 5.14 ERA he’s posted over these starts, he’s still working off some rust. Smyly is a 26-year-old fly ball pitcher, who throws in the low 90s with a cutter, a curveball, and a rarely used changeup. Despite not lighting up the radar gun, Smyly’s fastball is his best pitch, and he’s gone to his heater 53.1% of the time over his career. Smyly has totally dominated the O’s over the years, going 2-0 with a save in six career appearances (three starts) against them. Smyly’s recorded a 1.00 ERA and 0.74 WHIP while striking out 29 Birds over 27 innings. Smyly’s last start against the O’s came on 9/6/14, and he took a no-decision after giving up one run on four hits and two walks while striking out eight over six innings.

Good News: Davis is 2-for-11 with 2 HRs, and Wieters is 1-for-2 off Smyly. Nava is 8-for-33, Loney is 4-for-30 with a HR, John Jaso is 4-for-19, Cabrera is 4-for-17, Arencibia is 3-for-14 with a HR, Kiermaier is 2-for-14, Forsythe is 3-for-14, and Rivera is 0-for-6 off Tillman.

Bad News: Jones is 2-for-12 with a HR, Pearce is 0-for-8, Schoop is 0-for-6, Joseph is 1-for-4, Machado is 1-for-4, Flaherty is 0-for-2, and Clevenger is 0-for-1 off Smyly. Longoria is 16-for-43 with 6 HRs, Grady Sizemore is 3-for-10 with a HR, Guyer is 2-for-6, and Butler is 2-for-3 with a HR off Tillman. In 118 career games against the O’s, Longoria is batting .268/.340/.515 with 26 HRs, 77 RBIs, and 74 runs scored.

Wednesday, September 2 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN
RHP Kevin Gausman (2-6) vs. RHP Erasmo Ramirez (10-5)
Gausman’s 2015: 19 G, 11 GS, 80 IP, 69 Ks, 4.39 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Gausman’s Last Three Starts: 0-2, 19.2 IP, 17 Ks, 4.12 ERA, 1.02 WHIP
Ramirez’s 2015: 28 G, 21 GS, 127.1 IP, 95 Ks, 3.68 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
Ramirez’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 17 IP, 10 Ks, 4.24 ERA, 1.59 WHIP

Gausman took the loss in his last start against the Rangers after giving up four runs on nine hits and a walk while striking over three over 6.2 innings. Homers once again came back to haunt Gausman, as he served up two to Texas. Gausman has now given up 12 homers over 80 innings, which is pretty much the lone reason why he currently has a 4.39 ERA, instead of the 3.57 ERA he posted last season. In 2015, Gausman is giving up 1.4 HR/9, which is more than double the 0.6 HR/9 he surrendered last season. Gausman will not only have to keep the ball in the park against the Rays, but he’ll also have to bring his A-game. In seven career appearances (five starts) against Tampa, Gausman is 2-3 with a 5.76 ERA and 1.62 WHIP, and he’s struck out 29 batters over 29.2 innings. Gausman’s last start against the Rays came on 9/6/14, and he took a no-decision after holding them to two runs on five hits and four walks while striking out seven over seven innings.

Ramirez was knocked around in his last start, taking the loss against the Royals after allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out four over 4.1 innings. It was the first time Ramirez had failed to pitch five innings since he faced Toronto on July 18. The O’s have to be pleased that they’re seeing Ramirez at Camden Yards, instead of The Trop. This season, Ramirez has recorded a 4.71 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 14 appearances (11 starts) on the road, compared to a 2.66 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 14 appearances (10 starts) at home. In five career appearances (four starts) against the Birds, Ramirez is 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA and 0.64 WHIP, and he’s struck out 23 batters over 29.2 innings. This season, Ramirez has gone 1-1 in three appearances (two starts) against the O’s with a 2.87 ERA and 0.70 WHIP while striking out 11 batters over 15.2 innings. Ramirez’s last start against the Birds came on July 25, and the 25-year-old took the loss after giving up five runs on seven hits and no walks while striking out three over 7.1 innings.

Good News: Jones is 3-for-9, Clevenger is 2-for-3, Schoop is 1-for-3, and Gerardo Parra is 1-for-1 with a HR off Ramirez. Longoria is 3-for-13, Loney is 3-for-12, Nava is 1-for-8, Cabrera is 1-for-5, Beckham is 0-for-1, and Rivera is 0-for-1 off Gausman. In 33 career games against the Rays, Pearce is slashing .278/.381/.556 with 8 HRs, 17 RBIs, and 18 runs scored.

Bad News: Davis is 1-for-12 with a HR, Machado is 1-for-11 with a HR, Flaherty is 2-for-8, Wieters is 1-for-8 with a HR, Paredes is 0-for-3, and Joseph is 0-for-1 off Ramirez. Kiermaier is 3-for-12 with a HR, Jaso is 2-for-6, Arencibia is 2-for-4 with a HR, and Guyer is 2-for-3 off Gausman. Brad Boxberger’s 32 saves lead the American League.

Enjoy the games, and let’s go O’s!

stats: Baseball-Reference
cover pic: Camden Chat

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