Orioles vs. Twins Series Preview

Sports and Bets — August 20, 2015 at 6:37 pm by

After Henry Urrutia’s heroics last night, the Birds are now 5-1 through six games on their 10-game homestand. They’ll wrap up their homestand with four games against Minnesota, which is a series with some major Wild Card implications. Currently, the O’s are a half game back of the Angels for the 2nd Wild Card spot, while the Twins are four games back of the Angels. Minnesota swept the Birds earlier this season, so it’s only right that the O’s return the favor. Revenge is a dish best served with walk-off homers, babes.

The Breakdown
Baltimore Orioles (62-57) vs. Minnesota Twins (59-61)
Season Series: Minnesota leads 3-0
Last 10 Games: Baltimore’s 6-4, Minnesota’s 4-6
Runs: Baltimore’s 7th, Minnesota’s 12th
Home Runs: Baltimore’s 4th, Minnesota’s 16th
Batting Average: Baltimore’s 10th, Minnesota’s 23rd
On-Base Percentage: Baltimore’s 19th, Minnesota’s 28th
Team ERA: Baltimore’s 12th, Minnesota’s 25th
Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 23rd, Minnesota’s 20th
Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 4th, Minnesota’s 23rd
Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s 1st, Minnesota’s 14th

Baltimore’s Injury Report
P Chaz Roe: 15-day DL (right shoulder)
P Mike Wright: 15-day DL (left calf)
OF Steve Pearce: 15-day DL (left oblique; currently on rehab assignment)

Minnesota’s Injury Report
P Blaine Boyer: 15-day DL (right elbow)
P Phil Hughes: 15-day DL (back)
P Ricky Nolasco: 60-day DL (right ankle surgery)
P Ryan Pressley: 60-day DL (right lat; out for season)
OF Aaron Hicks: 15-day DL (left hamstring)

Thursday, August 20 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN & MLBN
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (9-8) vs. RHP Tyler Duffey (1-1)
Gonzalez’s 2015: 22 GS, 126.1 IP, 97 Ks, 4.42 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
Gonzalez’s Last Three Starts: 0-1, 17 IP, 16 Ks, 5.29 ERA, 1.53 WHIP
Duffey’s 2015: 2 GS, 8 IP, 8 Ks, 6.75 ERA, 1.63 WHIP

Gonzalez was solid in his most recent outing, taking a no-decision against the A’s after giving up three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out five over seven innings. It was Gonzo’s first quality start since he pitched 7.2 innings of one-run ball against the Rays on July 25th. In the series opener, Gonzalez will attempt to record back-to-back quality starts for the first time since May 29 and June 3. In two career starts against Minnesota, Gonzalez is 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, and he’s struck out 13 batters over 11.2 innings. Gonzalez’s last start against the Twins came on 8/29/14, and he picked up the win after holding them to a single run over seven innings.

Duffey will be making his third career start tonight. The 24-year-old rookie was a 5th round pick in 2012, and he’s put up fantastic numbers in the minors. Over his minor league career, he’s gone 29-18 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.11 WHIP while striking out 353 batters over 427.1 innings. Duffey throws in the low 90s with a curveball and a changeup. His curveball has been his best pitch in the big leagues, and he’s thrown it 29.2% of the time. Duffey’s two major league starts have been polar opposites. In his first start, he was shelled by the Blue Jays, taking the loss after allowing six runs on five hits and two walks while striking out one over two innings. In his second start, he earned the win after pitching six scoreless innings against the Indians. He gave up one hit and five walks while striking out seven batters.

Good News: In 12 career games against the Twins, Manny Machado is batting .373/.407/.529 with 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, and 11 runs scored. Eduardo Escobar is 1-for-5, Joe Mauer is 0-for-4, and Chris Herrmann is 0-for-2 off Gonzalez.

Bad News: Brian Dozier is 2-for-5, Torii Hunter is 2-for-5 with a HR, Trevor Plouffe is 2-for-5 with a HR, Kurt Suzuki is 2-for-3, and Eduardo Nunez is 1-for-2 off Gonzalez.

Friday, August 21 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN
LHP Wei-Yin Chen (7-6) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (6-3)
Chen’s 2015: 23 GS, 143.1 IP, 118 Ks, 3.20 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
Chen’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 18.1 IP, 16 Ks, 2.95 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
Milone’s 2015: 15 GS, 86.1 IP, 60 Ks, 3.65 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
Milone’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 17 IP, 11 Ks, 4.76 ERA, 1.29 WHIP

Chen’s thrown the ball really well over his last two starts, going 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA and 0.98 WHIP while striking out 12 batters over 13.1 innings. He’ll look to keep dealing against a Twins club that he boasts impressive numbers against. In five career starts against Minnesota, Chen is 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, and he’s struck out 25 batters over 30.2 innings. This season, Chen took a no-decision in his first start against the Twins. He surrendered two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out five over seven innings.

Milone missed two weeks of action with a left elbow strain, but he didn’t seem too rusty in his first start back. He picked up the win against the Indians after giving up one run on three hits and three walks while striking out three over five innings. Milone is a fly ball generating, finesse pitcher, who throws in the high 80s with a changeup, a curveball, and a cutter. His changeup is his best pitch, and he’s been throwing it 21.7% of the time this season. The 28-year-old southpaw has had the Birds’ number over the years. In four career starts against the O’s, Milone is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, and he’s struck out 15 batters over 26 innings. This season, Milone earned the win in his first start against the Birds. He held them to one run on five hits and two walks while striking out five over seven innings.

Good News: J.J. Hardy is 5-for-12, Chris Davis is 4-for-11 with 2 HRs, Machado is 5-for-11 with a HR, and Nolan Reimold is 1-for-3 off Milone. Suzuki is 2-for-8, Eddie Rosario is 0-for-3, and Escobar is 0-for-2 off Chen.

Bad News: Adam Jones is 2-for-12, Jonathan Schoop is 1-for-5, Matt Wieters is 0-for-4, Caleb Joseph is 0-for-3, and Jimmy Paredes is 0-for-3 off Milone. Mauer is 5-for-14, Nunez is 5-for-14, Dozier is 5-for-13 with a HR, Plouffe is 4-for-13 with a HR, Hunter is 3-for-9 with a HR, and Miguel Sano is 1-for-2 off Chen.

Saturday, August 22 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN & WJZ
RHP Chris Tillman (9-7) vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (8-9)
Tillman’s 2015: 22 GS, 123 IP, 85 Ks, 4.54 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
Tillman’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 18 IP, 7 Ks, 3.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Gibson’s 2015: 24 GS, 146.2 IP, 105 Ks, 3.99 ERA, 1.31 WHIP
Gibson’s Last Three Starts: 0-1, 15.2 IP, 13 Ks, 9.19 ERA, 1.79 WHIP

Tillman bounced back nicely against the A’s after he was pummeled by the Mariners in his first start back from a left ankle injury. Tillman picked up the win after limiting Oakland to two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out three over seven innings. Tilly’s been much better as of late, pitching to a sterling 2.13 ERA over his last eight starts (Rotoworld). On Saturday, Tillman will be looking for his seventh quality start over his last nine outings. It won’t be an easy task, though, as the Twins have given the 27-year-old fits over his career. In five starts against Minnesota, Tillman is 0-3 with a 5.06 ERA and 1.97 WHIP, and he’s struck out 17 batters over 21.1 innings. This will be Tillman’s first start against the Twins since 2014.

Gibson’s breakout campaign has fizzled out in the 2nd half of the season. In 18 starts before the All-Star break, Gibson was 8-6 with a 2.85 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, and he struck out 78 batters over 113.2 innings. In six starts after the All-Star break, Gibson has gone 0-3 with a 7.91 ERA and 1.64 WHIP while striking out 27 batters over 33 innings. Gibson throws in the low 90s with a changeup, a slider, and a rarely used curveball. The 27-year-old is a ground ball pitcher, who’s generated ground balls 52.6% of the time this season and 53.1% of the time for his career. In two career starts against the Birds, Gibson is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, and he’s struck out 13 batters over 11 innings. This season, Gibson earned the win in his first start against the O’s. He held them to two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out seven over six innings.

Good News: Gerardo Parra is 2-for-6, Hardy is 2-for-4 with a HR, Machado is 1-for-3, Ryan Flaherty is 1-for-2, and Schoop is 1-for-2 off Gibson. Mauer is 2-for-9, Suzuki is 2-for-9, Plouffe is 1-for-4, and Escobar is 0-for-2 off Tillman. The Birds are 37-21 at home, while the Twins are 21-37 on the road.

Bad News: Jones is 1-for-5, Paredes is 1-for-5, Davis is 0-for-4, and Wieters is 0-for-2 off Gibson. Nunez is 3-for-8, Hunter is 1-for-7 with a HR, and Dozier is 1-for-3 off Tillman. In 19 career games against the O’s, Dozier is batting .280/.333/.453 with 3 HRs, 14 RBIs, 15 runs scored, and 5 steals.

Sunday, August 23 at 1:35 p.m. on MASN
RHP Kevin Gausman (2-5) vs. RHP Mike Pelfrey (6-7)
Gausman’s 2015: 17 G, 9 GS, 66.1 IP, 58 Ks, 4.48 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
Gausman’s Last Three Starts: 0-3, 18.2 IP, 18 Ks, 5.79 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
Pelfrey’s 2015: 23 GS, 134.1 IP, 66 Ks, 3.62 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
Pelfrey’s Last Three Starts: 1-0, 16 IP, 10 Ks, 3.38 ERA, 1.31 WHIP

Gausman pitched pretty well in his last start, but he was still saddled with the loss against the Mets. He surrendered three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out six over six innings. Despite being 1-3 over his last five starts, Gausman is showing signs of turning the corner. Four of his last five outings have been quality starts, and he’s recorded a 3.78 ERA over this span. Gausman has made two career starts against Minnesota and the results have left a lot to be desired. He’s 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, and he’s struck out 11 batters over 11 innings. This season, Gausman was absolutely bombarded in his first start against the Twins. He took the loss after giving up eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits and a walk while striking out four over 3.2 innings.

Pelfrey has gotten off to a terrific start in the 2nd half, going 1-1 in six starts with a 2.55 ERA and 1.22 WHIP since the break. Even though he’s been rolling, I can’t imagine he’s too excited about coming to Camden Yards. This season, Pelfrey is 4-2 in 11 home starts with a 1.97 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. In 12 road starts, he’s 2-5 with a 5.58 ERA and 1.79 WHIP. Pelfrey is a ground ball pitcher, who relies heavily on his low to mid 90s fastball. He’s been throwing his heater 72.5% of the time this season, and he compliments it with a splitter, a slider, and a rarely used curveball. In three career starts against the O’s, Pelfrey is 2-0 with a 4.08 ERA and 1.70 WHIP, and he’s struck out four batters over 17.2 innings. This will be the 31-year-old’s first start against the Birds since 2013.

Good News: Jones is 4-for-9, Davis is 2-for-3, and Machado is 1-for-3 off Pelfrey. Dozier is 1-for-6, Escobar is 1-for-5, Plouffe is 1-for-4, and Rosario is 0-for-2 off Gausman. Since the Orioles acquired Parra, he’s slashed .288/.333/.493 with 4 HRs, 6 RBIs, 16 runs, and a steal.

Bad News: Parra is 4-for-18, Hardy is 2-for-8, Wieters is 1-for-8, and Reimold is 0-for-1 off Pelfrey. Suzuki is 3-for-7, Mauer is 4-for-5, Hunter is 3-for-4, Nunez is 1-for-3, and Sano is 1-for-2 with a HR off Gausman.

Enjoy the games, and let’s go O’s!

stats: Baseball-Reference
cover pic: Birds Watcher

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