It's the third-ever MLB start for Miguel Gonzalez. What are we going to see from him? How should I know, man? (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Cleveland may be the epicenter of soul-crushing depression in the universe. I don't know why that is, but it seems like a lot of totally depressed creative types got their start in Northeast Ohio. I have been there and I thought its depression was overrated - but then again, I was mostly there in the summer and not the winter.
The Orioles are in Cleveland, which is why I am mentioning it. They may challenge for the epicenter of soul-crushing depression, although at least they escaped Minnesota with two wins. The Indians are a better baseball team than what they just faced - better record, anyway - so who knows what that means. Probably nothing. The Orioles have to go out and play the Indians for four games. That's all it means.
Miguel Gonzalez is back in action tonight. We have not seen enough of him to know what to expect from him - which, I suppose, is kind of the point, because Cleveland won't have seen a lot of him either. That is one benefit of signing guys out of the Mexican League. We can look at an extremely crude measure in that the Indians are 37-26 against RHP and Gonzalez is a RHP. Probably all that tells us is they have some good lefty hitters, which they do. So it's up to Gonzo to negotiate that lineup, while contending with the standard awful O's defense. Eh, I don't know. He beat the Angels. Why not these guys?
O's hitters will be facing Derek Lowe. If you dread the team facing a junkball sinker pitcher with over a 60% ground ball rate in his career, then congratulations: you've been paying attention. That's likely a bad combo for the team that leads the majors in GIDPs by a disgusting amount. Lowe has been a different pitcher this year in this way: his career K/9 is 5.83, which is still fairly "contact pitcher" territory - but this year it's only 3.26. Fluke to be corrected or has he lost part of his game that's taken that away? One other thing we can be sure of is that if any team will find a way to strike out en masse against Lowe, it's the Orioles.
On the subject of strikeouts, Orioles hitters have the second-most in MLB (755) and Indians hitters have the second-fewest (593).
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||CLEVELAND INDIANS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Shin-Soo Choo - RF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Asdrubal Cabrera - SS|
|Jim Thome - DH||Jason Kipnis - 2B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Michael Brantley - CF|
|Matt Wieters - C||Carlos Santana - C|
|Wilson Betemit - 3B||Travis Hafner - DH|
|Chris Davis - LF||Johnny Damon - LF|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Casey Kotchman - 1B|
|Ryan Flaherty - 2B||Jack Hannahan - 3B|