So the Red Sox pull of a good road trip, finally get back home, and who do they face? The Orioles. Cue the frustration of not getting hits and watching the BABIP dragons just ignore Baltimore for the majority of the series.Well, at least it’s at home, right?
BALTIMORE ORIOLES – 70-59, 3rd place in the AL East (5.5 GB)
The Orioles have settled in to being the dark horse of the AL East race. After the Rays surged past them, they tried to keep up with Tampa & Boston, but have been sitting around six games back for most of August. This series will determine what they are in the playoff race – contenders, having shortened the gap considerably, or pretenders, dropping to over eight games back in the standings.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
1 – Nate McLouth – LF – .272/.342/.412
2 – Manny Machado – 3B – .296/.325/.446
3 – Chris Davis – 1B – .304/.387/.679
4 – Adam Jones – CF – .299/.326/.511
5 – Matt Wieters – C – .233/.290/.423
6 – Nick Markakis – RF – .277/.333/.368
7 – J.J. Hardy – SS – .258/.301/.445
8 – Ryan Flaherty – DH – .218/.280/.364 (in 240 PA)
- Flaherty is a backup second baseman for the Orioles. He can field very well, he just can’t hit all that much.
- Shown decent power in small sample sizes in 2012 and 2013. More of a doubles hitter, but hasn’t gotten many of those lately.
- Not particularly fast. Never had a high steal count in the minors and barely helps on the basepaths.
9 – Brian Roberts – 2B – .257/.320/.375
Who’s hot? – Last 14 days
- Chris Davis: 3 HR, 8 RBI, .676 SLG
- J.J. Hardy: 2 HR, .556 SLG, 153 wRC
Who’s not? – Last 14 days
- Nick Markakis: .200 AVG, .583 OPS, 63 wRC
- Nate McLouth: .167 AVG, 10 K, .273 wOBA
Wei-Yin Chen vs. Felix Doubront
Chen, keeping with the tradition of odd Orioles, is a fly-ball pitcher who doesn’t give up a ton of homers. Nor does he strike out a lot of guys, because a 5.58 K/9 isn’t exactly mowing down the competition. I could talk about how his 78% LOB% is a sign for future regression, but this is Baltimore we’re talking about here. In other news, Doubront will look to build upon a 8-inning, 1-run performance against San Francisco.
Bud Norris, before being acquired by the Orioles, was having a down year in terms of strikeouts. Now, he’s back to a 9 K/9, but it comes at the expense of a 4.55 BB/9 and a awful 1.30 HR/9. While his 4.22 ERA isn’t great, neither is his 4.43 xFIP. John Lackey will try to “rebound” from his, uh, “best” loss of the year, where he went the distance in a complete game in Los Angeles.
Oh Chris Tillman. Your 22.3% LD%, .267 BABIP and 82.1% LOB% all scream regression, but it’s been 160 innings and nothing’s happened. He must’ve been born with the blessing of the baseball gods to have kept that up for so long and not felt the repercussions. He’s also a walking, (maybe) talking Red Sox killer, as he owns a 2.08 ERA in 43.1 innings pitched with 33 strikeouts and no homers allowed. Sigh…I’m gonna hate this game, aren’t I?
- Jason Hammel: 15-day DL (July 29th, strained right forearm)
- Nothing new to report.
Can this just be like the good old days where the Red Sox crushed them and everyone enjoyed it? Is that possible? Or is every line drive in the district gonna be caught by Machado & Pals? I hope it’s the former.