Orioles @ Astros lineups and game preview for Friday night

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Prepare yourselves for the return engagement with Brett Oberholtzer of the Astros, who was on the mound against the Orioles for one of last year's more embarrassing defeats.

Stretches of baseball like we've subjected to recently make it harder and harder to ever remember why any of us would have ever believed this Orioles team would do well this year. The only cylinder firing is Nelson Cruz. Friday night, as they try to stop their slide at three games, they will face off against the pitcher who they faced in one of last season's worst losses in the non-Arizona category.

Pitchers

LHP Brett Oberholtzer, Astros
2014: 8 GS, 44 IP, 5.32 ERA, 39 SO, 12 BB, .299 BAA, 1.52 WHIP
Last start (at Mariners): 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO

We already know how this goes. It'll be even worse this year because Oberholtzer hasn't been pitching so great, whereas last year he got some good results against teams who aren't the Orioles as well. Look at that high ERA, the strikeouts. Consider what they did against Brad Peacock last night.

If your Friday night plans were hinging on the Orioles, you would probably be better off making other plans. That's what I say, but I'm not making any other plans either, so at least we can suffer together.

RHP Miguel Gonzalez, Orioles
2014: 10 G, 51.2 IP, 4.35 ERA, 46 SO, 19 BB, .267 BAA, 1.41 WHIP
Last start (vs. Indians): 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO

Good grief, it was even Gonzalez who started that fateful game opposite Oberholtzer last year. This really is written in the stars, a million miles away. I'm sorry for bringing up that song.

The struggle for Gonzalez this year is curious, if only because you'd think his strikeout rate being up significantly would mean good things. It doesn't, though. He's also walking a few more batters, giving up more home runs, and suffering from a .311 BABIP. Bad pitches or bad luck? For Orioles fans, it doesn't really matter. The outcome is that it sucks.

Lineups

No one has seen a whole lot of anyone, so here's a big block with the lineups, after which will be some sweeping generalizations based on arbitrary criteria.

Today's Lineups

BALTIMORE ORIOLES HOUSTON ASTROS
Nick Markakis - RF Jose Altuve - 2B
Steve Pearce - LF George Springer - RF
Nelson Cruz - DH Dexter Fowler - CF
Adam Jones - CF Jason Castro - C
Chris Davis - 1B Matt Dominguez - 3B
J.J. Hardy - SS Chris Carter - 1B
Manny Machado - 3B Alex Presley - DH
Jonathan Schoop - 2B Robbie Grossman - LF
Caleb Joseph - C Jonathan Villar - SS
Miguel Gonzalez - RHP Brett Oberholtzer - LHP

Against left-handed pitchers, the Orioles are batting .254/.312/.413 as a team. That puts them 9th in OPS against lefties as a team. That is not very good.

The Astros bat .226/.302/.382 against right-handed pitchers, which is 13th in OPS in the AL. Somehow, I still expect they will find a way to score 11 runs tonight.

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