Fresh off of a series win north of the border in Toronto, the Orioles head back to America for a four-game set at U.S. Cellular Field against the Chicago White Sox. Nice to see the O’s shake off a sweep, courtesy of the New York Yankees, and take two of three for their second series (and first road) win of the year. Meanwhile, Chicago took two of three from Detroit to prepare for series’ versus the O’s, M’s, and A’s.
The offense came alive, producing 13 runs in the first two games (15 overall – up from 10 in the NYY series), but solid pitching (mostly from the bullpen) set the table in the two victories. Notable performances include two scoreless innings (and saves) from Jim Johnson, a 5 for 10 and 2 HR weekend from Nolan Reimold, and a 5 for 11 with two doubles/one HR from Chris Davis. Chicago also received solid pitching performances against a potent Tigers lineup. Starting pitchers allowed just 3 of the 8 Tigers’ runs.
Four game set begins tonight at 8:10pm. Jake Arrieta gets the ball for the O’s against Philip Humber of the White Sox. Games two and three will be night games, starting at 8:10pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday’s game is a 2:10pm matinee.
Game 1 (Monday @ 8:10pm):
BAL – Jake Arrieta (1-0, 2.63 ERA)
CWS – Philip Humber (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Bounced around with a few different teams before producing a 3.5 WAR season in the White Sox rotation last year. Makes his first start of the season vs. the O’s. Utilizes four pitches (fastball, slider, curve, change) fairly effectively, producing a 3:1 K/BB ratio. Not overpowering by any means (fastball averages about 90). Keeps most of his pitches away, but will come in on lefties with his slider.
JJ Hardy is 4-4 with a HR in his career vs. Humber. Robert Andino, Nick Markakis, and Adam Jones also have home runs off of Humber. The White Sox have hit Arrieta well, albeit in limited numbers (A.J. Pierzynski has the only HR).
Game 2 (Tuesday @ 8:10pm):
BAL – Wei-Yin Chen (0-0, 3.18 ERA)
CWS – John Danks (1-1, 5.40 ERA)
Fastball guy, using a four-seam, two-seam, and cutter. Also mixes in a changeup and the occasional curveball. Sits around 91 on the gun, but drops the cutter into the upper-80s. Doesn’t throw the changeup often to left-handed hitters. Likes to come in on the righties with his fastball and cutter.
Very solid numbers overall from Oriole hitters vs. Danks (.282/.312/.423 slash line), although limited power, excluding Hardy’s four doubles. These numbers are hampered by Chris Davis (0 for 6) and Adam Jones (1 for 21). Wei-Yin Chen makes his first career start vs. the White Sox.
Game 3 (Wednesday @ 8:10pm)
BAL – Tommy Hunter (1-0, 2.77 ERA)
CWS – Jake Peavy (1-0, 3.55 ERA)
Had his season shortened by injury last year, but did go on to produce the lowest walk numbers (1.93 BB/9) of his career, as well as decent strikeout numbers. Lost about 1 MPH off of his fastball last year, but is back to around 91 in two starts this season. Uses a variety of pitches, including a fastball (two-seam and four-seam), slider, changeup, curveball, and cutter.
All four of Wilson Betemit’s hits off of Peavy have been doubles, but he does have 7Ks. Peavy has dominated Mark Reynolds (2 for 14, 8Ks). Lefties have much better numbers against numbers against Peavy, although he’s held batters from both sides under a .250 BA. Hunter has but 39 TBF against the White Sox, but they’ve put up 13 hits and .333/.333/.385 line. Alexei Ramirez, Alex Rios, and Paul Konerko all have three hits.
Game 4 (Thursday @ 2:10pm)
BAL – Jason Hammel (1-0, 2.08 ERA)
CWS – Gavin Floyd (1-1, 3.09 ERA)
Another fastball/cutter guy. Also throws a curveball and will mix in a changeup or two. Gets up around 91 on the fastball, but really backs off of the cutter (85ish) and the curveball (upper-70s). Cutter will run in on left-handed hitters.
Up (Nick Markakis – 7 for 20 with 4 doubles, J.J. Hardy – 4 for 12 with 4 RBI) and down (Matt Wieters – 2 for 14, Adam Jones – 2 for 9) numbers against Gavin Floyd. Chris Davis’ lone hit in five attempts was a home run. April has not been kind to Floyd in his career (5.54 ERA, 4.28 BB/9, .285 BABIP). Adam Dunn has decent numbers vs. Hammel (3 for 15, 1 HR, 4 RBI) from his time in the NL. Hammel does have two career starts at U.S. Cellular field (earlier in his career) and neither were that impressive.