Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles

Fan Confidence Poll: September 5th, 2011
Game 139: Off their feet

Man, the Orioles again? All these games against the Fightin’ Showalters would be annoying if they were any good. But they’re not, so I’ll live. I suspect there aren’t many of you out there reading this on the holiday, plus we’re all familiar with the Orioles by now, so I’ll keep it short.

What Have The Orioles Done Lately?

Since splitting that impromptu four-game series around Hurricane Irene with the Yankees last weekend, the Orioles have lost two of three to both the Blue Jays and Rays. They got spanked 8-1 yesterday and have allowed six or more runs in four of their last five games. Baltimore is 55-83 on the season with a -150 run differential, second worst in baseball behind the Astros. To make matters worse, they’ve already been eliminated from playoff contention. Not even a glimmer of hope anymore.

Orioles On Offense

Their two best hitters over the last two weeks or so have been Matt Wieters (.268/.331/.439 on the year) and Mark Reynolds (.221/.320/.476), who are both sporting .400+ wOBA’s over the last two weeks. J.J. Hardy (.269/.308/.499), Nick Markakis (.279/.339/.397), Nolan Reimold (.230/.297/.399), and Ryan Adams (.261/.320/.319.) have each chipped in as well, but they’ve hardly been stellar. Vlad Guerrero (276/.307.396) and Adam Jones (.286/.324/.476) have both been slumping big time, and Jones has been banged up as late. It’s the same below-average offense we’ve seen all year, but they do have a few guys that can really hurt you if you make a mistake.

Orioles On The Mound

Monday, LHP Jo-Jo Reyes Brian Matusz (vs. Freddy Garcia): The Yankees, especially Andruw Jones, have simply crushed Reyes this year. We’re talking a dozen runs in 8.1 IP across two starts, and Jones has taken him deep four times total (twice in each game). That’s what happens when you can’t miss bats (5.29 K/9) and come at the Yankees with a high-80’s fastball and two offspeed pitches (change and slider) that don’t fool anyone.

Apparently Matusz is starting, not Reyes. The Yankees bombed him for three homers and six runs in 5.1 IP last week, and he doesn’t throw as hard as he once did. Boom.

(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Tuesday, RHP Tommy Hunter (vs. Phil Hughes): We all know Hunter from the various Yankees-Rangers battles last season, and last week he held New York to a four runs (on three homers) in seven innings. His underlying performance this season is … interesting: 3.91 K/9, 1.19 BB/9, and 44.3% grounders. Hunter works with a low-90’s fastball, a mid-80’s cutter, and a high-70’s curve.

Wednesday, LHP Zach Britton (vs. A.J. Burnett): Britton has either been really really good against the Yankees, or really really bad. He held them to one unearned run over seven innings in his first start, gave up nine runs in a third of an inning in his second start, and then held them scoreless over seven innings last time out. Britton’s a big-time ground ball guy (53.3%), getting them with his low-90’s sinker, a mid-80’s changeup, and a low-80’s slider.

Bullpen: The O’s have ten guys in their bullpen thanks to September call-ups, so Buck Showalter has plenty of options to work with. Two guys he doesn’t have anymore are dynamite setup man Koji Uehara and top lefty Mike Gonzalez, who’ve been traded in recent weeks. Jim Johnson (2.80) is still as good as it gets in the setup role, but other than him, they don’t have a single guy in their bullpen with a sub-4.00 FIP in more than 20 IP. That includes closer (and perpetually shaky) Kevin Gregg, who recently told reporters that “The bottom line is you obviously haven’t acquired my taste in pitching yet.” How awesome is that?

Recommended Orioles Reading: Camden Crazies.

Fan Confidence Poll: September 5th, 2011
Game 139: Off their feet
  • Ben

    wth is a taste of pitching? maybe he just likes sucking…

  • Cy Pettitte

    2 lefties Jesus should mash, looking forward to this series.

  • DERP

    I know it’s technically not part of the series, but do you think the team will send the full roster to Baltimore on Thursday?

    • LarryM.,Fl.

      A win is a win. Much better on the left side than the right. Girardi can rest some players.

      • Carl Spackler, assistant greenskeeper

        one more against the O’s is one less needed later
        Rather see then beat on a struggling team.
        That being said…
        Would suck to lose

    • Mike Axisa

      Ack, I completely forgot about that game. Otherwise I would have included it in the post.

      I think they’ll send everyone to Baltimore except for Friday’s (and maybe Saturday’s) starting pitcher. Those guys will go to Anaheim ahead of time.

    • Cy Pettitte

      Jorge better be starting at 2B for that game

    • Rainbow Connection

      Believe it or not, the Yankees aren’t run by a bunch of RAB posters who live in basements. They’re running a real team in the real world.

  • boogie down

    I want to see Montero start all three games at DH, especially if he does well today.

    • Troll Killer

      I wanna see him catch.

  • joek

    don’t sell urself short im a total RAB addict never miss a day! atleast 10-15 times a day!

  • Nom Chompsky

    Haha, I’m playing around on FG, and uncovered this: the Yankees outfield has been worth about 17 wins. The Orioles have been about worth 3. Which suggests that if you switched outfields this year, they’d have about the same record.

    Guess which outfield makes more money?

    Of course, it could be worse. They could be the Mariners, who have paid more than either team and gotten less than a quarter of a win.

  • Zach

    I wonder how many hittters Buck will have his pitchers hit?

  • Cuso

    today’s lineup is my favorite of the season to date.

    I love it. They’re scoring 20 runs today.