"Okay, gnomes that live in the baseball. People always say my fastball has no movement. Help me out here." Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE
Are the Rangers some kind of kryptonite for these Orioles? After a while you have to wonder, although there's not really much to wonder about. Most of the Rangers players are better than most of the Orioles players. If that's what qualifies as an otherworldly substance that saps super powers, well, Orioles Magic isn't going to be long for this year after all.
Back at it tonight. After a pathetic performance against Ryan Dempster - who had struggled in the AL thus far, but was towards the top of the trade market for a reason - it will now be up to the hitters to perform better against Scott Feldman. This may be an easier task, though as I note frequently, the Orioles are fully capable of being completely shut down by any pitcher. They are just as capable of completely obliterating any pitcher.
Feldman is an interesting case. He's bounced between the bullpen and the rotation for the Rangers this year. That's fair, as he's not one of their better pitchers, with a 4.63 ERA. However, he has a 3.23 home ERA on the season against a 6.21 road ERA. That probably means he's had some fluky road outings, because one would not expect most pitchers to be pitching significantly better in Texas, especially if that pitcher is not an extreme ground ball pitcher. Feldman also has interesting career platoon splits, with righties hitting for better average, but lefties getting on base about as much due to more walks.
Then, there's Chris Tillman pitching for the Orioles. He's made eight starts this year and his only dominant ones were the two against Seattle. He's had a couple of decent outings against crappy offenses like Cleveland and Tampa Bay. The other four outings have been varying degrees of failure. You would have to be really optimistic to think this will be the first game where Tillman will do well against a great offense. This is Texas, although they have hit fewer home runs as a team than the Orioles have.
In fact, measured by ISO (SLG - AVG, to determine ISOlated power), the teams are basically the same - the Rangers at .164 and the O's at .163. But the Rangers hit for a better average and get on base more by 33 points apiece and are just plain better at scoring runs as a result, with 102 more runs scored.
These are the macro trends, of course. More significant for tonight will be how all these elements play out in this game. Certainly, the numbers favor Texas. Last night, the numbers as well as the baseball gods favored Texas. But fortune is a fickle mistress, and perhaps tonight she will be lured away by the sultry temptation of Birdland.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TEXAS RANGERS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Ian Kinsler - 2B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Elvis Andrus - SS|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Josh Hamilton - CF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Adrian Beltre - 3B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Nelson Cruz - RF|
|Chris Davis - DH||Michael Young - DH|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||David Murphy - LF|
|Omar Quintanilla - 2B||Geovany Soto - C|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Mitch Moreland - 1B|