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Series Preview: Baltimore (July 20-23)

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This Series Preview brought to you by TiqIQ.

Tonight's deal:

Indians look to gain in WC as they open homestand Friday night vs. O's. Fireworks after the game!

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After going 3-4 on their road trip, the Indians end their long stretch against the AL East with a four-game series against the Orioles.

Team in a Box (click to enlarge)

Baltimore_july_20-23_medium

Since the Indians last played them, the Orioles have continued their tailspin; since the beginning their series with the Indians in late June, they've lost 5 games in the standings, and have gone from challenging for the division title to fighting for one of the Wild Card spots. They're still in second place, but they have the rest of the division for company, as Toronto, currently in last place, is just 2.5 games behind them.

Typical Lineup

Pos. Player BA OBP SLG OPS+ PA
RF Nick Markakis .276 .350 .467 121 254
SS J.J. Hardy .217 .257 .370 69 402
DH Jim Thome .243 .364 .297 84 44
CF Adam Jones .294 .337 .547 136 389
C Matt Wieters .255 .333 .430 107 339
1B Mark Reynolds .206 .333 .383 95 258
LF Chris Davis .260 .304 .449 102 306
3B Wilson Betemit .255 .315 .417 98 286
2B Ryan Flaherty
.202 .231 .263 35 107

Since the Indians left Baltimore, Nick Markakis has returned, but Brian Roberts has gotten hurt, so has Robert Andino, so the Orioles have been playing Rule 5 pickup Ryan Flaherty and journeyman Steven Tolleson. Jim Thome, who was traded while the Indians were in town, hasn't yet provided the power the Orioles are looking for.

The Orioles as a team are hitting .216/.280/.347 in July, and have only hit 38 home runs since the beginning of June; in May alone they hit 45.

Projected Starters

Date Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
July 20 Miguel Gonzalez 2.59 24.1 7.8 4.4 7.0
July 21 Chris Tillman 1.00 9.0 8.0 4.0 7.0
July 22 Zach Britton (L) 9.00 4.0 2.3 13.5 13.5
July 23 Tommy Hunter 5.71 88.1 4.7 1.6 10.9

To say the Baltimore rotation is in shambles might be an understatement. The Indians won't face any of the starters that they saw just three weeks ago, though both Gonzalez and Hunter worked in long relief against them in Baltimore. The first three starters of this upcoming have a grand total of 5 major-league starts between them in 2012, so on paper the Indians offense should have no problems scoring runs this weekend.

Key Relievers

Throws Pitcher ERA Innings SO/9 BB/9 H/9
Right Jim Johnson 2.50 39.2 5.2 2.0 6.4
Right Luis Ayala 2.98 45.1 5.6 1.8 9.7
Left Troy Patton 3.21 42.0 7.9 2.4 7.5

No changes here. The bullpen has been the one area of the club that's been relatively good in July; Jim Johnson saw his ERA shoot up to 2.50 thanks to allowing 5 runs in a 19-7 blowout at the hands of the Minnesota Twins(!).

On the Shelf

  • 1B Nick Johnson (wrist) - 60-day DL
  • RHP Stuart Pomeranz (oblique) - 60-day DL
  • LF Nolan Reimold (neck) - Out for the season
  • LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (Tommy John surgery) - Out for the season
  • RHP Jason Hammel (knee) - 15-day DL
  • 2B Brian Roberts (hip) - 15-day DL
  • 2B Robert Andino (shoulder) - 15-day DL

Losing Hammel to the DL was a big blow, as he'd been the best starter in the rotation. Since Reimold went on the DL in late April, the Orioles have struggled to find a fill-in in left field, using seven different players there, with Chris Davis the most recent experiment.

talonk's Almanac

Record since 2001 48-28 (.632%)
Runs Scored/Allowed 442 336
Pythagorean Win % .623
Best Year(s) 6-1 2005
Worst Year(s) 2-4 2006