Jimenez (0-3, 7.31 ERA) vs. Peavy (0-0, 1.99 ERA)
Tomorrow night the Orioles make their first appearance of the season on Sunday Night Baseball. The 3rd game of the 4 game series pins the O's newest yet struggling addition, Ubaldo Jimenez, against the solid and steady Jake Peavy. Jimenez has struggled keeping the ball in the park so far this season allowing 4 home runs in his 3 starts. Given that all 4 came in the hitter's Camden Yards, this is not a good sign for the $50 million dollar man. Jimenez has already faced the Red Sox this year allowing HRs to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli in the 6-2 defeat. Jimenez will need to keep the ball in the park to allow the Orioles to grab the win.
For the Sox, Jake Peavy has started off the season pretty well with not much to show for. His three no decisions and two losses in games started are not good signs that would show how well Peavy is pitching. Although he has allowed a home run in each game this season, in 2 of the 3 games, that was the only run he allowed. In addition, he only allowed 3 hits in both of those games.
The Orioles hitters will get to face a righty tomorrow which bodes well for them compared to the lefty Doubront. Pretty much everyone in the Orioles lineup hits righties better except for J.J. Hardy. Matt Wieters should be in the lineup tomorrow, as I see his off day coming on the Monday day game. Markakis was excellent against Doubront as was Nelson Cruz but the rest of the team combined 1-25 on the day. As we've seen the Orioles bats have gotten off to a slow start but I don't think there is much need to worry. As the temperature increases, Davis and Jones will start to pick up the slack and the return of Machado will provide a huge boost. The 3 players with a decent sample size against Peavy are J.J. Hardy, Delmon Young, and Nick Markakis.
J.J. Hardy: 1-17, 4 SO
Delmon Young: 3-13, 1 HR
Nick Markakis: 3-8. 1 BB
As you can see from the players with the biggest sample sizes, Markakis is the only player with true success against Peavy, batting .375. It will be interesting if Buck considers giving Hardy the day off with his putrid stats against Peavy. Nonetheless, we will see if the O's bats can get something started against the tough Peavy.
Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz absolutely demolish the Orioles. Although a majority of those at-bats came when the Orioles were in the midst of a 16 year losing streak, Pedroia and Ortiz come to play against the Birds. Pedroia tagged the O's for 4 hits against Jimenez 2 and a half weeks ago while Papi did the more recent damage against Norris with a Home Run. The Red Sox feed off of Pedroia's energy and Ortiz's power so seeing Jimenez shut those two down would be huge for the Orioles. The most notable Red Sox hitters against Jimenez are as follows; Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, Johnny Gomes
Dustin Pedroia: 7-13, 4 RBI
Mike Napoli: 4-7, 2 HR
Johnny Gomes: 5-15, 2 HR
While this is Jimenez's first year with the Birds, he has faced the Red Sox hitters before once again struggling with the long ball. Not to mention Pedroia has burned him. A good sign for Ubaldo is that he has limited Ortiz to a 1 for 7 career. This locks down half of the key to the game. Overall, the Red Sox lineup is not as frightening as it was last year when they captured the World Series but it is a solid lineup as we saw today the 7 hitter Brock Holt hit a go-ahead triple.
Prediction: Red Sox 6 Orioles 4
As hard as it is to predict the Sox to win this game, I simply don't think Jimenez will be able to keep the ball in the park nor shut down Pedroia. While the O's should produce a few runs, it simply won't be enough to take game 3 of this series.