Rays @ Orioles lineups and game notes - April 15

Leon Halip

If Mother Nature cooperates (and it doesn't look likely that she will) we will see Brandon Gomes oppose Miguel Gonzalez in a battle of right-handers.

Nothing screams baseball like torrential rain and freezing temperatures. If the game gets squeezed in here is who will be playing:

Pitchers

RHP Miguel Gonzalez, Orioles

2013 stats: 30 G (28 starts), 11-8, 3.78 ERA, 171.1 IP, 120 SO, .243 BAA, 1.23 WHIP
2014 so far: 2 G (2 starts), 0-1 9.64 ERA, 9.1 IP, 4 SO, .400 BAA, 1.93 WHIP

Miggy bounced back from his horrific start in Detroit to do what he always does in New York. He did a nice job over six innings, giving up three runs. They refer to that in the biz as a "quality start", but we know we have seen even better play from Gonzalez.

The major issue to start the year is the Mexico native's inability to miss opponent's bats. He is on pace right now to only ring up just under four strikeouts per nine innings pitched. That is down from his career rate of 6.33. Part of this may be due to a decrease in velocity. Both Fangraphs and Brooks have Gonzalez's fastball clocking in about one mile per hour slower than usual. Perhaps it's due to the colder weather he has endured, especially in Detroit.

Keeping the ball in the park should be a priority for Gonzalez too. He trails only three players in terms of home runs given up, but all three of those players have made one more start than Gonzo. He is tied with fellow Oriole Ubaldo Jimenez, but again, Ubaldo has made three starts.

Notice that Gonzalez is throwing on five days rest this time around rather than the normal four days. He has thrived with the added down time in the past.

RHP Brandon Gomes, Rays

2013 stats: 26 G (0 starts), 3-1, 6.52 ERA, 19.1 IP, 29 SO, .247 BAA, 1.29 WHIP
2014 so far:  6 games (0 starts), 1-0, 5.79 ERA, 4.2 IP, 5 SO, .300 BAA, 1.93 WHIP

Well that late switch completely ruined everything I wrote before so I will give you a quick little look at Mr. Gomes. He has predominantly been a relief pitcher. As a matter of fact, this would be his first career Major League start if it happens. But he will get the spot start here. That tells me that manager Joe Maddon has little hope that this game gets into the fifth inning, or anywhere close, to be considered a full game.

He is a three pitch guy; fourseam fastball, cutter, and splitter. He just began throwing that cutter this season and has been using it almost exclusively; 65.2 percent of his pitches. It comes in around 87 to 88 miles per hour. Don't forget about that four-seamer though. That makes up about 18 percent of his pitchers and hovers around the low 90s. And finally is the splitter which composes 12.4 percent of his repertoire. He will keep it in the low to mid 80s.

Lineups

Rays (w/ career stats against Gonzalez)

2B Ben Zobrist (S) 2-for-19, .105 BA,1 2B, 1 HR, 4 SO
RF Wil Myers (R) 1-for-6, .167 BA, 2 SO
DH Matt Joyce (L) 2-for-13, .154 BA, 5 BB, 2 SO
3B Evan Longoria (R) 5-for-16, .313 BA, 1 HR, 2 BB, 3 SO
1B James Loney (L) 3-for-14, .214, 2 SO
CF Desmond Jennings (R) 4-for-18, .222 BA, 3 HR, 3 BB, 4 SO
LF David DeJesus (L) 0-for-2, 1 BB
SS Yunel Escobar (R) 4-for-14, .286 BA, 1 2B
C Jose Molina (R) 4-for-12, .333 BA, 1 HR, 1 BB

Not nearly as interesting as the Orioles lineup below. The top of the lineup has some bad history here. I always worry with Joyce, though. He seems to be an Oriole killer. Jennings has had an all or nothing approach here; three home runs and four strikeouts. Always beware of Longo, he has started off the season making good contact but has yet to show much power. Let's hope it doesn't start tonight. However, Molina has had the most impressive numbers against Gonzalez but come on, who doesn't Molina crush? Oh, it's Jose? Yeah, that's....interesting.

Orioles (w/ career stars against Gomes)

RF Nick Markakis 1-for-1, 1 RBI
LF Nelson Cruz (R) 0-for-3
1B Chris Davis (L) none
DH Matt Wieters (S) 2-for-2, 1 HR, 4 RBI
C Steve Clevenger (L) none
SS J.J. Hardy (R) 0- for-4
CF David Lough (L) none
2B Steve Lombrdozzi (S) none
3B Ryan Flaherty (L) 0-for-1

Adam Jones is the big absence. The word is that he is out on account of sickness. Pitcher Evan Meek was sent home before the game with similar flu symptoms that Brian Matusz has had. There is a bug going through the clubhouse. Lough will get the nod in center where he has played one inning with the O's so far. Clevenger is in. Likely so Wieters can catch tomorrow's day game. The Birds attacked Chris Archer early and ferociously last night. Let's hope for more of the same against another younger starter.

Don't expect a double header tommorow if this game is a wash. Both teams are headed out of town following a early game. They will like to keep in that way with the two meeting up plenty of more times this season.

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