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.
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
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
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)
Batting Average: 14th
Home Runs: 21st
Batting Average: 5th
Home Runs: 26th