The Orioles take their act on the road for four games against the Chicago White Sox and three against the Kansas City Royals. The SBNation blog for the White Sox is South Side Sox, and in my opinion it's one of the better communities of the bunch. Or maybe I'm just charitable because when the Orioles and White Sox face off they always make a lot of Wire references.
The White Sox are having a rough go of things to start the season, having lost twelve of their last fifteen games. In that span their pitching has been pretty suspect outside of John Danks and Gavin Floyd. Also in their rotation is Philip Humber, who has had his troubles but just pitched seven shutout innings against the Yankees, Mark Beuhrle, who is off to a slow start, and Edwin Jackson, who just isn't a good pitcher.
The real problem for the the White Sox is their underachieving offense. Adam Dunn missed time with an appendicitis and hasn't really gotten going yet. Alex Rios, who looked to have revived his career in Chicago last season, has been terrible this year. Pretty much only Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin have been pulling their weight. They've still scored more runs than the Orioles, though.
Game 1: Jake Arrieta vs. John Danks
Danks, a lefty, has had a fine season with little to show for it. In five starts he has a 3.27 ERA with a K/9 of 9 and a BB/9 of 2.7. The White Sox have lost every game he's started this year. Here are your current O's stats against Danks:
It'll be a tough task for the O's batters tonight, especially if Buck Showalter again decides that Jake Fox should face the lefty.
Game 2: Chris Tillman vs. Philip Humber
I kind of forgot about Chris Tillman. He hasn't made a start since April 18th, as he was passed over after a rainout to rest his weary groin.
Humber has made four starts this season, two bad, one good, and one fantastic. The fantastic one came in his last start against the Yankees on April 25th. He pitched seven shutout innings and only gave up one hit. Humber is a AAAA kinda guy, bouncing back and forth between the majors and minors since 2006. He's made thirty-two big league appearances and just six have been starts. No Oriole has had more than three plate appearances against him. I guess he'll probably shut them out.
Game 3: Zach Britton vs. Gavin Floyd
Floyd, my favorite baseball playing Mount St. Joe alumnus, has gotten himself off to a pretty good start this season. His last start against the Yankees was particularly impressive. He struck out ten and walked just one in eight innings. This is his fourth full-time season in the majors, and while he doesn't blow anyone away with velocity or strikeouts, he does have good control and gets a lot of ground balls.
Current Orioles against Floyd:
I like Mark Buehrle for a lot of reasons. One is that he seems like a fun guy, but I also think that he gets overlooked as one of the better pitchers of the last decade. Another reason I like him is that he was drafted in the 38th round, made like thirty appearances in the minors, was called up like two years after he got drafted, and has just been good ever since. He never gets hurt, either. He has pitched at least 200 innings every season since 2001. He doesn't really even seem like he should be all that good. He gives up kind of a lot of hits and he doesn't strike many people out at all. His fastball is about 85 mph. How does he do it? He doesn't walk hardly anyone, for one thing, and he's another ground ball pitcher. He's just one of those magical lefties, I guess.
Orioles vs. Mark Buehrle:
I think this will be a tough series for the O's, and given the offenses of both teams, I can see a lot of low scoring affairs that could go either way. My prediction is that they split 2-2.