Your First Place Orioles vs. Rangers Series Preview

Sports and Bets — June 29, 2015 at 6:49 pm by

The blistering Birds have clawed their way into 1st place in the AL East! They’re winners of four straight, 18 of their last 23, and 10 of their last 11 home games. Up next for the O’s is a four-game series against Texas. The Birds went 6-1 against the Rangers last season, outscored them 46-26, and swept them in a four-game series at Camden Yards. I’ve got a good feeling that similar ass beatings are awaiting the Rangers once again. You don’t mess with a runaway Buck Truck, babes.

The Breakdown
Baltimore Orioles (41-34) vs. Texas Rangers (38-38)
Last 10 Games: Baltimore’s 7-3, Texas’ 2-8
Runs: Baltimore’s tied for 3rd, Texas’ 12th
Home Runs: Baltimore’s 5th, Texas’ tied for 9th
Batting Average: Baltimore’s 7th, Texas’ 19th
On-Base Percentage: Baltimore’s 16th, Texas’ 17th
Team ERA: Baltimore’s 10th, Texas’ 19th
Starter ERA: Baltimore’s 18th, Texas’ 11th
Bullpen ERA: Baltimore’s 5th, Texas’ 28th
Fewest Errors Made: Baltimore’s 3rd, Texas’ 29th

Baltimore’s Injury Report
P Jason Garcia: 60-day DL (right shoulder)
P Wesley Wright: 60-day DL (left shoulder; currently on rehab assignment)
INF Jonathan Schoop: 60-day DL (right knee; currently on rehab assignment)

Texas’ Injury Report
P Yu Darvish: 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery; out for season)
P Neftali Feliz: 15-day DL (right side; currently on rehab assignment)
P Matt Harrison: 60-day DL (back, currently on rehab assignment)
P Derek Holland: 60-day DL (left shoulder)
P Ross Ohlendorf: 15-day DL (groin, currently on rehab assignment)
P Martin Perez: 60-day DL (Tommy John surgery; currently on rehab assignment)
P Nick Tepesch: 60-day DL (right elbow)
INF Kyle Blanks: 15-day DL (both Achilles’ tendons)
INF Jurickson Profar: 60-day DL (right shoulder)
OF Delino DeShields: 15-day DL (left hamstring; currently on rehab assignment)
OF Josh Hamilton: 15-day DL (left hamstring; could return this series)

Monday, June 29 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN & ESPN
RHP Bud Norris (2-6) vs. LHP Wandy Rodriguez (4-3)
Norris’ 2015: 10 GS, 49.2 IP, 35 Ks, 6.70 ERA, 1.61 WHIP
Norris’ Last Three Starts: 0-2, 17.1 IP, 10 Ks, 3.12 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
Rodriguez’s 2015: 12 GS, 68.2 IP, 54 Ks, 4.06 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
Rodriguez’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 16 IP, 11 Ks, 6.75 ERA, 1.94 WHIP

Norris was cruising in his last start against Boston, until he imploded in the 6th inning. After pitching five scoreless innings, he gave up five unearned runs in the 6th, which I feel is a bullshit statistic considering Norris made one of the two errors himself in that disastrous inning. The 6th inning has really given Norris trouble over his last three starts, as the righty has surrendered nine runs (four earned) in his last three 6th innings. Is it Norris’ conditioning? Is it a coincidence? Has Bud developed a deep hatred for Iron Maiden? I have no idea, but it sure would be nice if he could stop this nonsense immediately. In two career starts against Texas, Norris is 2-0 with a 5.91 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, and he’s struck out 10 batters over 10.2 innings. Last season, Norris picked up the win in his lone start against the Rangers after giving up five runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five over five innings.

Rodriguez was throwing the ball pretty well before his most recent start, holding opponents to three earned runs or less in six straight starts (Orioles/MLB). That streak came to an emphatic end against the Athletics, though. Rodriguez took the loss after getting pummeled for eight runs on 11 hits and three walks while striking out four over four innings. The 36-year-old throws a high 80s fastball, a curveball, and an occasional changeup. Rodriguez’s curveball is by far his best pitch, and he’s been throwing it a whopping 35% of the time this season. In two career starts against the O’s, Rodriguez is 0-1 with a 5.87 ERA and 2.35 WHIP, and he’s struck out three batters over 7.2 innings. Last season, as a member of the Pirates, Rodriguez took a no-decision in his only start against the Birds. He gave up six runs (one earned) on seven hits and a walk while striking out none over 1.2 innings.

Good News: J.J. Hardy is 7-for-24 with 2 HRs, Jimmy Paredes is 1-for-3, Steve Pearce is 1-for-3, and Manny Machado is 1-for-2 off Rodriguez. Leonys Martin is 0-for-4, Mitch Moreland is 1-for-4, Elvis Andrus is 0-for-3, Rougned Odor is 0-for-2, and Shin-Soo Choo is 0-for-1 off Norris. The O’s are an AL-best 25-13 at home this season.

Bad News: Chris Davis is 1-for-4, Delmon Young is 0-for-2, Adam Jones is 0-for-1, and Caleb Joseph is 0-for-1 off Rodriguez. Prince Fielder is 6-for-23 with a HR, Josh Hamilton is 6-for-18 with a HR, Adrian Beltre is 2-for-6 with 2 HRs, and Robinson Chirinos is 1-for-2 off Norris.

Tuesday, June 30 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN 2
RHP Miguel Gonzalez (6-4) vs. RHP Colby Lewis (7-3)
Gonzalez’s 2015: 13 GS, 78 IP, 63 Ks, 3.58 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
Gonzalez’s Last Three Starts: 1-1, 16 IP, 13 Ks, 3.94 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
Lewis’ 2015: 15 GS, 94.1 IP, 71 Ks, 4.10 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Lewis’ Last Three Starts: 2-0, 21 IP, 16 Ks, 3.00 ERA, 1.05 WHIP

Gonzalez was decent in his first start back from a groin injury, earning the win against Boston after giving up four runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out four over five innings. Gonzo has loved pitching at OPACY this season, going 3-0 in six starts with a 2.25 ERA and 0.90 WHIP while striking out 31 batters over 40 innings. In seven road starts, Gonzalez has gone 3-4 with a 4.97 ERA and 1.42 WHIP while striking out 32 batters over 38 innings. In three career starts against Texas, Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA and 1.36 WHIP, and he’s struck out nine batters over 18.1 innings. This will be Gonzalez’s first start against the Rangers since 2013.

Lewis has been thriving in the month of June, going 3-0 in five starts with a 3.09 ERA and 1.06 WHIP while striking out 25 batters over 35 innings. He’s struck out five batters for every walk, and all five of his outings have been quality starts. Lewis is a fly ball pitcher, who’s been generating fly balls 46.3% of the time this season. He’s done a great job of keeping the ball in the park this year, serving up just eight home runs over 94.2 innings. This is leaps and bounds better than last season, when he gave up 25 homers over 170.1 innings. The 35-year-old throws in the high 80s with a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. Lewis’ slider has been his best pitch over his career, and he’s been throwing it 25.3% of the time this season. In six career starts (eight appearances) against the O’s, Lewis is 1-4 with a 6.35 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, and he’s struck out 32 batters over 39.2 innings. Last season, Lewis took a no-decision in his lone start against the Birds. He allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four over five innings.

Good News: Hardy is 5-for-15 with 2 HRs, Jones is 4-for-15 with a HR, Young is 4-for-13, Matt Wieters is 3-for-11, Davis is 2-for-5, Ryan Flaherty is 1-for-4 with a HR, Chris Parmelee is 1-for-3, David Lough is 1-for-2, and Machado is 1-for-2 off Lewis. Hamilton is 1-for-11, Andrus is 2-for-9, Beltre is 1-for-9, Fielder is 0-for-4, and Martin is 1-for-5 off Gonzalez.

Bad News: Travis Snider is 1-for-6, Nolan Reimold is 0-for-3, and Joseph is 0-for-1 off Lewis. Moreland is 3-for-8, Choo is 2-for-6, and Adam Rosales is 1-for-2 off Gonzalez. Fielder leads the AL with a .351 batting average. In 15 career games against the O’s, Fielder is hitting .316/.418/.737 with 7 HRs, 13 RBIs, and 12 runs scored.

Wednesday, July 1 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN 2
LHP Wei-Yin Chen (3-4) vs. RHP Nick Martinez (5-4)
Chen’s 2015: 14 GS, 87 IP, 76 Ks, 2.90 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
Chen’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 19 IP, 19 Ks, 1.89 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Martinez’s 2015: 15 GS, 90.1 IP, 52 Ks, 3.39 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
Martinez’s Last Three Starts: 0-2, 19 IP, 9 Ks, 6.16 ERA, 1.68 WHIP

Chen pitched well in his first start back from his brief demotion to the minors. He took a no-decision against the Indians after holding them to two runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five over six innings. Chen has to be bummed to see the calendar turn to July, as he enjoyed his best month of the season in June. The southpaw went 2-0 in four starts with a 2.13 ERA and 1.14 WHIP while striking out 28 batters over 25.1 innings. Chen has been sensational against Texas over his career, going 4-0 in four starts with a 1.67 ERA and 1.15 WHIP while striking out 16 batters over 27 innings. Last season, Chen earned the win in his only start against the Rangers. He gave up two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four over six innings.

Martinez got off to a terrific start this season, posting ERAs of 0.35 and 3.25 in April and May, respectively. But June was a much different story for Martinez, as he pitched to a 6.25 ERA over five starts. In his most recent start, he took the loss after getting his sauce peppered by Toronto. He gave up nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits and four walks while striking out two over six innings. The 24-year-old throws in the high 80s to low 90s with a slider, a changeup, and a curveball. Martinez’s changeup is his best pitch, but he’s only thrown it 10.5% of the time this season. Besides going to his changeup more frequently, Martinez also needs to work on his control. This season, he’s walking 3.3 batters per nine innings, and he leads the MLB with 12 hit batsmen. Martinez has made two career starts against the Birds, and they both came during his rookie campaign in 2014. He went 0-2 with an 8.71 ERA and 1.94 WHIP while striking out two batters over 10.1 innings.

Good News: Jones is 2-for-6, Davis is 1-for-5 with a HR, Joseph is 2-for-5 with a HR, Machado is 1-for-3, Lough is 1-for-2, and Pearce is 1-for-2 with a HR off Martinez. Beltre is 2-for-11, Carlos Corporan is 0-for-8, Martin is 0-for-6, Moreland is 0-for-5, Hamilton is 1-for-4, Rosales is 0-for-3, and Odor is 0-for-2 off Chen.

Bad News: Hardy is 1-for-5, and Flaherty is 1-for-2 off Martinez. Andrus is 6-for-11, Choo is 2-for-4 with 2 HRs, and Fielder is 2-for-6 off Chen.

Thursday, July 2 at 7:05 p.m. on MASN 2
RHP Kevin Gausman (1-0) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (7-6)
Gausman’s 2015: 9 G, 1 GS, 17 IP, 14 Ks, 4.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
Gallardo’s 2015: 16 GS, 96 IP, 70 Ks, 2.72 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Gallardo’s Last Three Starts: 2-0, 20.1 IP, 11 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP

Gausman will return to the big leagues to make his second start of the season in the series finale. His first start came against Toronto on June 20, and the 24-year-old gave the O’s five solid innings. He took a no-decision after surrendering two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out one. According to Roch Kubatko, it’s believed that after Gausman starts on Thursday, he’ll be sent back down to the minors, so he can start every fifth day. He’ll also pitch in the minors during the All-Star break. Gausman’s only experience against the Rangers came in a relief appearance during his rookie season. He gave up two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out none over 1.2 innings.

Gallardo has been absolutely rolling. The 29-year-old righty hasn’t given up a run in 23.1 consecutive innings, and he’s 4-0 over his last seven starts. (Orioles/MLB). The Rangers traded Marcos Diplan, Corey Knebel, and Luis Sardinas to the Brewers for Gallardo and cash over the winter, and they have to love their early returns. Gallardo is surprisingly on pace to have a career year in his first season in the AL. Gallardo’s been able to generate ground balls 53.1% of the time this season, and he’s only surrendering 0.7 home runs per nine innings. His best pitch is his low 90s fastball, and he compliments it with a slider, a curveball, and an occasional changeup. Gallardo’s lone career start against the O’s came last season, and he earned the win after giving up three runs on four hits and five walks while striking out five over 6.2 innings. Hopefully, this fucking guy won’t rip our hearts out with the bat again this year.

Good News: Hardy is 1-for-2 off Gallardo. Moreland is 0-for-1 off Gausman. Machado is batting .419 over a 10-game hitting streak with 2 HRs, 10 RBIs, and 8 runs scored (Kubatko).

Bad News: Pearce is 2-for-14 with a HR, Snider is 3-for-14, Young is 0-for-11, Davis is 0-for-3, Jones is 0-for-3, and Machado is 0-for-3 off Gallardo. Fielder is 1-for-2 with a HR, and Andrus is 1-for-1 off Gausman.

Enjoy the games, and let’s go O’s!

cover pic: Baltimore Orioles
stats: Baseball-Reference

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