Series Preview: Orioles @ Minnesota 5/2-5/4

Coming off of their double-header win vs. Pittsburgh last night, the Orioles head to Minnesota for a weekend series.

You can discuss this series on the BSL Board here.

This series will be a battle of poor pitching as two decent offenses go up against pitching staffs that have struggled so far in 2014. The Twins’ offense has been a pleasant surprise for fans of the club, as they’re ranked in the top 5 of many offensive categories so far this season. The Orioles on the other hand haven’t seen the success hoped for out of their potent offense, but the talent is there to score 10 runs on any given night.

The Twins’ pitching struggles to strike out batters, something the O’s hitters have done a lot of already this season. That will make for an interesting battle of wills as the Twins pitch to contact and the O’s potentially continue to swing and miss.

On the other side another humorous matchup emerges as the only offensive category that the Twins are not strong in is home runs, which also happens to be one statistic where the O’s pitching staff is among the worst in baseball, allowing 1.22 home runs per nine innings.

Matchup to Watch: O’s pitching vs. Minnesota’s offense

The Twins offense has come out hot in early 2014 with all 9 regulars posting above average offensive numbers through the first full month of the season. Many of the Twins’ starters have put up these numbers over the course of more than 100 PA, showing that they do in fact have the ability to drive in runs. Despite the Twins mediocre home run stats, they are getting on base and scoring with ease.

The O’s have had issues with their pitching this season, ranking 25th in ERA and dead last in FIP among all major league teams. The Twins come into this series with a surprisingly good offense, and the O’s pitchers will have their hands full in trying to limit the damage caused by Minnesota’s lineup.

Matchup to Watch: O’s sluggers vs. Minnesota’s starting rotation

Minnesota’s starting pitching has been as bad as the Orioles’ so far this season, and the O’s won’t see a starting pitcher with an ERA below 5 in this series. Minnesota’s pitching has been awful in just about everything except walking batters and giving up home runs. Last season the O’s led MLB in home runs, something they’ve struggled to replicate so far in 2014. Will the O’s be able to limit their strikeouts against the Twins’ pitching, and maybe even hit a few home runs throughout the series?

If the O’s bats don’t wake up during this series they could have difficulty outscoring a hot Twins offense.

Pitching Matchups

5/2 - Ricky Nolasco vs. Ubaldo Jimenez
Nolasco in 2014: 2-2, 29.2 IP, 3.94 K/9, 2.73 BB/9, 1.52 HR/9, 6.67 ERA, 5.36 FIP
Jimenez in 2014: 0-4, 27.1 IP, 6.91 K/9, 5.60 BB/9, 1.65 HR/9, 6.59 ERA, 5.95 FIP

5/3 - Kevin Corriea vs. Wei-Yin Chen

Correia in 2014: 0-3, 27 IP, 4.00 K/9, 2.67 BB/9, 0.67 HR/9, 7.33 ERA, 4.21 FIP
Chen in 2014: 3-1, 29 IP, 7.14 K/9, 2.17 BB/9, 0.31 HR/9, 4.34 ERA, 2.72 FIP

5/4 - Phil Hughes vs. Miguel Gonzalez

Hughes in 2014: 2-1, 28 IP, 8.36 K/9, 1.93 BB/9, 0.96 HR/9, 5.14 ERA, 3.42 FIP
Gonzalez in 2014: 1-2, 26 IP, 7.27 K/9, 2.77 BB/9, 1.73 HR/9, 5.19 ERA, 5.29 FIP

The Opponent (wRC+ for 2014)

C- Kurt Suzuki, 125 WRC+
1B- Joe Mauer, 106 wRC+
2B- Brian Dozier, 123 wRC+
3B- Trevor Plouffe, 150 wRC+
SS- Eduardo Escobar, 112 wRC+
LF- Jason Kubel, 121 wRC+
CF- Sam Fuld, 213 wRC+
RF- Chris Colabello, 130 wRC+
DH- Josmil Pinto, 156 wRC+

BENCH- Herrmann, Florimon, Hicks
ROTATION- Hughes, Gibson, Correia, Nolasco, Pelfrey
BULLPEN- Burton, Thielbar, Swarzak, Tonkin, Duensing (LHP), Deduno, Fien, Johnson (LHP), Perkins (LHP)

2014 Ranks:

Minnesota
Batting Average: 14th
Runs: 5th
Home Runs: 21st
wOBA: 5th
wRC+: 4th
K/9: 30th
BB/9: 18th
HR/9: 14th
ERA: 29th
FIP: 27th

Baltimore
Batting Average: 5th
Runs: 17th
Home Runs: 26th
wOBA: 5th
wRC+: 16th
K/9: 28th
BB/9: 23rd
HR/9: 29th
ERA: 25th
FIP: 30th

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About the author


Jeff Long   

Orioles Analyst

Jeff was the owner of the Orioles blog Warehouse Worthy, which focused on making advanced statistics a part of the conversation for the average fan. Outside of baseball, Jeff is a graduate of Loyola University where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Business Administration. The Maryland native currently works for an Advertising Agency in downtown Baltimore. Previously a contributor to Beyond the Boxscore, he joined Baseball Prospectus in September 2014.


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