Orioles @ Rays lineups and game preview - 5/6

Hannah Foslien

Chris Tillman and Chris Archer are the probable pitchers for Tuesday night's game between the Orioles and Rays in Tampa. These are the lineups.

Pitchers

RHP Chris Archer, Rays
2014: 6 GS, 35.1 IP, 4.84 ERA, 28 SO, 10 BB, .268 BAA, 1.33 WHIP
Last start (at Boston): 4.2 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 3 SO

Archer is a pitcher who has not gotten great results thus far this year, but could be said to have experienced bad luck. You can see that in his .330 BABIP (batting average on balls in play), which is abnormally high compared to his past numbers, especially considering he's getting nearly 50% ground balls. He's also only stranding 62.2% of runners who reach base, a low number against league average. That could mean he's psyching himself out and pitching poorly once men reach, or more bad luck.

The Orioles beat Archer with a 12-hit parade on April 14. They scored seven runs off of him in only five innings. That was at Camden Yards, rather than the sterile environment at the Trop.

RHP Chris Tillman, Orioles
2014: 6 GS, 36.2 IP, 3.68 ERA, 35 SO, 12 BB, .250 BAA, 1.34 WHIP
Last start (vs. Pittsburgh): 4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO

Tillman threw 49 pitches in the first inning against the Pirates. He walked in two runs. Do you prefer to give him credit for battling back to make it through 4.2 innings, or knock him for being unable to put away anyone in that first inning? He is what passes for the staff ace just by virtue of his recent success as an Oriole, and yet sometimes there are these disaster outings, maybe because he's secretly not really all that good and all of our dreams will be horribly crushed.

Lineups

Orioles (w/ career stats vs. Archer)

RF Nick Markakis (L) 1-9, 2 K
3B Manny Machado (R) 3-7
LF Nelson Cruz (R) 2-6, 2B
CF Adam Jones (R) 0-9, BB
DH Matt Wieters (S) 3-9, 2B
SS J.J. Hardy (R) 4-10, 2 2B
C Steve Clevenger (L) none
1B Steve Pearce (R) none
2B Ryan Flaherty (L)

3-7, 2B

This looks a whole lot like a small sample size lineup, with Wieters hitting the DH spot and Clevenger catching after an off-day. You might think getting an extra lefty in the lineup against a right-handed starter would be good - plus throwing in Flaherty down there for the heck of it, because he hit a double once. Archer has some weird reverse platoon splits going on so far this year, though, with lefties only batting .207/.241/.256, with 20 strikeouts in 87 plate appearances. This is the opposite of his career.

Is that statistical noise, or has something changed in his delivery or pitch arsenal to make him suddenly dominant against lefties but weak against righties? Righty batters are hitting Archer to the tune of a .945 OPS.

Rays (w/ career stats vs. Tillman)

2B Ben Zobrist (S) 5-29, 2B, 3 HR
CF Desmond Jennings 2-13, 2B
LF Matt Joyce (L) 6-21, 2B, 3B, 2 HR
3B Evan Longoria 10-24, 2 2B, 4 HR
1B James Loney (L) 2-14, 2B
RF Wil Myers 0-3
DH David DeJesus (L) 2-6
SS Yunel Escobar 2-11, 3 BB
C Ryan Hanigan none

There are some land mines here for Tillman to navigate, with Zobrist hitting him hard when he hits him, and Joyce and Longoria enjoying numbers that are on the dominant level against Tillman. Of course, the bigger problem for Tillman will be getting outs without throwing too many pitches. If he gives up the occasional hit, or even solo homer, the team can live with that. With the O's offense looking how it has, hopefully he doesn't feel like he has to be perfect.

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