Orioles @ Blue Jays lineups and game notes - April 23

Jim Rogash

The Orioles try to pick themselves up and get back into the win column on Wednesday night against the Blue Jays. Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy are both back in the lineup. Hooray!

Pitchers

RHP Dustin McGowan, Toronto
2014: 3 GS, 13 IP, 4.85 ERA, 8 SO, 6 BB, .333 BA, 1.92 WHIP
Last start (vs. Minnesota): 4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 SO

He's only made three starts so far this year, but the basic pattern is that McGowan has completely sucked against everyone except for the Orioles. This comes as no surprise to anyone who was born prior to yesterday. This is what the Orioles do, no matter how much it frustrates us and no matter that we can never figure out why. They make guys who are terrible look great for a night. Here's hoping they don't do it again tonight. At least he's not a soft-tossing lefty.

So far this season, McGowan's fastball velocity is down over two miles per hour compared to last year. That seems to be the kind of thing that teams that aren't the Orioles might take advantage of. I ended the last sentence with a preposition and have no regrets.

RHP Chris Tillman, Orioles
2014: 4 GS, 26.1 IP, 1.71 ERA, 20 SO, 7 BB, .216 BAA, 1.10 WHIP
Last start (at Red Sox): 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO

Are you also nervously waiting for Tillman to get blown up, putting his season statistics more in line with the pitcher that he probably is? In particular, his home run rate so far this season is half of his career rate, so he's due to give up some bombs, and, as we saw in last night's game, the Blue Jays team is plenty capable of crushing mistakes and taking them a long way.

Tillman is averaging over six innings per start this year, which would be nice for him to equal or exceed in Wednesday's game, if only to spare us more bullpen shenanigans. There is no game where you want to see every reliever, especially on a night where most of them don't look so great.

Lineups

Orioles (w/ career stats against McGowan)

RF Nick Markakis (L) 2-13, two walks
DH Nelson Cruz (R) 1-7, 2B
1B Chris Davis (L) 1-3, two walks
CF Adam Jones (R) 4-8, 2B
C Matt Wieters (S) 0-6, one walk
SS J.J. Hardy (R) 1-5, 2B
3B Ryan Flaherty (L) 1-3, HR
2B Jonathan Schoop (R) 1-3
LF David Lough (L) none

That's a whole lot of dire numbers, and then one unexpected homer. Of course, it only takes one good swing for some of these small sample size numbers to start looking good. The Orioles are middle-of-the-pack against right-handed pitching, with a team batting line of .279/.331/.399.

Matt Wieters returns to the lineup, an unquestionable positive, as long as he continues his solid hitting as a lefty batter so far this year. J.J. Hardy is also back, so the infield defense should be a bit less terrible today.

Blue Jays (w/ career stats against Tillman)

SS Jose Reyes (S) 3-10, 2B
LF Melky Cabrera (S) 4-15, 2B, HR
RF Jose Bautista (R) 6-20, 2B, 2 HR, 3 BB
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R) 8-28, 2B, HR
1B Juan Francisco (L) none
C Dioner Navarro (S) 1-5
CF Colby Rasmus (L) 6-17, 2 2B, 2 HR
3B Brett Lawrie (R) 3-16, HR
2B Ryan Goins (L) 1-9

Well, that's a lot of home runs. You have to hope the homers all came against an earlier, inferior Tillman. Maybe that's even true. Against right-handers in general, the Jays are batting a combined .247/.324/.393, so they haven't been afraid to wait out a walk. They've also been hitting for modest power while not having a great average. Tillman was on the wild side in his last start. If he's going to put guys on base against this lineup with several strong sluggers, there could be problems.

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