Winners of 3 in a row, the Baltimore Orioles begin a inter-league series in the Nation’s Capital this weekend vs. the Washington Nationals. The O’s enter the 3 game series at 25-14 overall, and leading the American League East. The Nationals are 23-15, good for 2nd in the National League East.
1) Playing without the DH, means the O’s figure to be without Wieters for one game. My vote would be to hold him out of Saturday’s game against the lefty Detwiler. Wieters is batting .310 against lefties (9 for 29), and his OPS is over .800 against southpaws; but all 8 of his homers, and 6 of his 7 doubles have come against RHP.
2) Avery has started his Major League career 5 of 21, with a double, triple, 2 bb’s, and 2 k’s. He has started in each of the 5 games the O’s have played. Does that continue over the weekend?
3) We get to spend the weekend hearing about the double switch. If you need to brush-up on it, here is a handy link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_switch_%28baseball%29). If you spend 15 seconds reviewing the link, you will now be qualified to Manage in the National League.
4) After 8 shut-out innings in NY, Arrieta has allowed 13 er in his last 10 innings against Texas and Tampa Bay. In this entry from MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli (http://brittghiroli.mlblogs.com/2012/05/13/arrieta-i-think-i-need-to-relax-a-little-bit/), Arrieta’s current issues are identified as fastball command, and according to Arrieta; ‘putting too much pressure on himself.’ Makes sense to me, you can see it. I’ve pointed it out in several game reviews, and the board has talked about it in the game threads. Arrieta will be going great, and when some adversity comes, you can see him tighten up. The stuff is fantastic. If he trusts his stuff, and gets ahead of hitters; he will win consistently at this level. He certainly doesn’t have to ‘muscle up’ and try and give extra when runners are on. As he said in his own words, that has a tendency to leave the ball up.
5) The versatility of several of the O’s players should help. Tolleson, Flaherty, Hall and Betemit (even if his best position is DH) can each be used at several spots in the INF, and LF.
6) Davis had 5 hits in Kansas City, and now has hits in 4 of his last 5 games. Good to see him coming out of the slump which had plagued him since Sunday in Boston. Now you want to see the power return. (Last xbh’s were May 1st.)
7) Hammel took his first loss Monday vs. the Yankees. That was his first start in 9 days. He looked strong early on, prior to tiring out fairly quickly. He showed no ill-effects from his sore knee, and that was the main takeaway from that start. Now that he is back on normal rest, you want to see him get right back on the winning track.
8) Hardy enters the weekend with a 6 game hitting streak, which includes 4 multi-hit games. In these past 6 games, he has had 3 doubles, 1 hr, 8 rbi, and 2 bb’s. Jones enters the weekend with a 9 game hitting streak, which includes 5 hr’s (including the last 3 games), 9 rbi, and 4 bb’s. If the temperature for these two goes from ‘scorching’ to ‘warm’ this weekend, who steps-up around them?
9) Chen (4-0, 2.45 era) has made 7 starts with the O’s. In 3 of his last 4 outings, he has gone at-least 7 innings. In 6 of his 7 starts, he has allowed 2 er or less. (In the 7th, he allowed 3.) In his 44 innings of work, he has allowed 39 hits, 3 hr’s, 14 bb’s, and 32 k’s. His OPS against is .639, and his G/F ratio is 0.53. The last two outings vs. Texas and NY have been fantastic. The match-up vs. Strasburg Sunday should be very entertaining.
10) Bullpen watch:
Johnson has pitched in each of the past 3 games.
Strop pitched an inning yesterday, was off Wednesday, and pitched an inning Tuesday.
Ayala pitched an inning yesterday, after having off Tuesday and Wednesday.
O’Day was off yesterday, pitched an inning Wednesday, was off Tuesday.
Eveland was off yesterday, pitched 3 innings Wednesday.
Patton pitched 3 innings Sunday, and an inning Wednesday.
Gregg pitched 1.1 Sunday, and 2 innings Wednesday.
5/18: Arrieta vs. Jackson
5/19: Hammel vs. Detwiler (LHP)
5/20: Chen vs. Strasburg
Jackson: 1-1, 3.71 era, 43.2 ip, 35 hits, 6 hr’s, 9 bb’s, 38 k’s, .678 OPS against, 0.89 G/F
Pitch F/X: http://pitchfx.texasleaguers.com/pitcher/429719/
Detwiler: 3-2, 2.75 era, 39.1 ip, 33 hits, 2 hr’s, 10 bb’s, 28 k’s, .580 OPS against, 1.30 G/F
Pitch F/X: http://pitchfx.texasleaguers.com/pitcher/446321/
Strasburg: 3-1, 2.25 era, 48 ip, 37 hits, 3 hr’s, 12 bb’s, 56 k’s, .577 OPS against, 0.82 G/F
Pitch F/X: http://pitchfx.texasleaguers.com/pitcher/544931/
C: Flores .555 OPS, 51 ab’s
1st: LaRoche 1.024 OPS, 124 ab’s
2nd: Espinosa .610 OPS, 136 ab’s
SS: Desmond .726 OPS, 168 ab’s
3rd: Zimmerman .648 OPS, 94 ab’s
LF: Bernadina .687 OPS, 76 ab’s
CF: Ankiel .699 OPS, 88 ab’s
RF: Harper .755 OPS, 66 ab’s
Bench: Xady, Moore, Maldonado, Tracy, Lombardozzi
Rotation: Strasburg, Gonzalez, Jackson, Zimmermann, Detwiler
Bullpen: Rodriguez, Clippard, Burnett, Perry, Gorzelanny, Stammen, Mattheus
Batting Average: 21st
On Base: 14th
Quality Starts: 3rd
Batting Average: 15th
On Base: 20th
Quality Starts: 17th