After winning both games in an abbreviated series against Tampa Bay, the Orioles now head to Boston for a 4 game series beginning tomorrow.
Baltimore will arrive at Fenway sporting a 7-7 record, while the Red Sox are currently 7-9 overall after winning at Chicago tonight. The O’s are 3-3 on the road, while Boston is 2-4 at home. The Orioles are 6-5 vs. the AL East, the Sox are 3-4.
This will be the second series between the AL East foes this year, with Boston taking 2 of 3 in Baltimore to begin the year.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
4/18: Chris Tillman vs. John Lackey
4/19: Bud Norris vs. Felix Doubront (LHP)
4/20: Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Jake Peavy
4/21: Wei-Yin Chen (LHP) vs. Clay Buchholz
Batting Average: 6th
On-Base %: 24th
Slugging %: 15th
Quality Starts: 27th
Batting Average Against: 29th
Defensive Efficiency: 25th
Batting Average: 23rd
On-Base %: 13th
Slugging %: 27th
Quality Starts: 1st
Batting Average Against: 21st
Defensive Efficiency: 22nd
1) With the O’s having been off Tuesday, and today; the bullpen is plenty rested going into the weekend. Hopefully the day off today has improved the health of those on the team who have been dealing with the flu.
2) Schoop has hits in his last 6 games, but did not play against Tampa Bay. In that 6 game hitting streak vs. New York and Toronto; he had 4 doubles, and his first homer. Will he maintain that upward trend vs. Boston?
3) Tillman has gotten off to a fast start. How does he look in his 2nd outing vs. the Sox? Norris, and Chen are coming off of quality outings. Are they able to build off of those starts? (This will be Chen’s 2nd outing vs. Boston as well.)
4) There will be a lot of eyes and attention on Jimenez. BSL Orioles Analyst Gary Armida reviewed Jimenez earlier this week (linked above in the listed pitching match-ups). Where is his velocity? Is it maintained? How does his mechanics look? Is he able to throw his off-speed offerings for strikes? I’d like to see him gain his first win. I think that would help him relax, and become more comfortable in his new surroundings.
5) Defensive metrics at this stage mean very little, but the early returns on David Lough do look strong. That’s the positive. We know even when he’s going great, he’s not going to be a big bat. Clearly we have yet to see him going well yet. I expect he’ll be what we thought he was – a guy with the ability to hit with some average, low on-base skills unless he takes more walks, no power, plus speed, with the ability to steal more bases than he did previously, and strong defense.
I want to see him continue to play, get time, and get his bat going. If he produces offensively like he did last year, he’s a valuable player (when you combine that level of offense with his defense and speed).
That said, if his offense doesn’t get to his level from last year, he’ll stop starting with any regularity and be the late inning defensive replacement, pinch runner, 4th OF type. You don’t want to panic over 32 poor at-bats, but hopefully he can have a strong couple of days and alleviate any growing concerns of his ability to produce anything with the bat.
6) This is going to be an up-and-down weekend. A game Friday night, followed by a day game Saturday, Sunday Night Baseball, and a 11AM game Monday. That schedule, plus what figures to be an emotional home crowd, could be a lot to deal with.
7) Another Oriole that could be helped by a strong weekend is Markakis. He has just 1 bb on the year, and only 2 xbh’s in his first 61 ab’s. Four games of peppering the Monster, or hooking balls around the Pesky Pole would be good to see.
8) Entering tonight, Boston was 5th in the Majors in walks. Their offense has yet to take off, but they will always make you work. Can the O’s pitchers get ahead?
Red Sox Reading:
Fire Brand of the American League
Boston Red Sox.com
Over the Monster
Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.