Orioles @ Rays lineups and games notes - May 7

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles will send Bud Norris to the mound to face Cesar Ramos in an attempt to take the series from AL East rival, Tampa Bay

It's not always pretty when the Orioles win a baseball game. Sure, the lights might go out a la Super Bowl XLVII. Maybe Tommy Hunter thinks it's necessary to pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. But a win is a win and another win tonight will take an important series from the Rays.

Time: 7:10 pm
Place: Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg, FL)
TV: BAL - MASN TB - Sun Sports
Radio: BAL- 1090 AM WBAL TB- WDAE 620 AM, 95.3 FM, WGES 680 AM

Pitchers

LHP Cesar Ramos, Tampa Bay

2014 stats: 9 G, 4 GS, 1-1, 2.91 ERA, 21.2 IP, 7 ER, 14 BB, 15 SO, .195 BAA, 1.35 WHIP
Last start (vs. Boston): 4.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 6 SO, ND

Ramos has been a career reliever as this will be only his eighth big league start, his fifth of 2014. He broke into the league in 2009 with the Padres, played sparingly, before coming to Tampa Bay in 2011 and, as Joe Maddon does, was made into a useful pitcher.

He is better against lefties, but not by a huge margin. Righties have hit .248 off of him while lefties have only managed a .234 batting average.

Fangraphs has him with four pitches: fastball, slider, curveball, and change-up. However, he has largely stayed away from the curve this year.

Pitch Usage Velocity
Fastball 56.9% 90.2
Slider 24.0% 83.0
Curveball 4.0% 69.0
Change-up 15.1% 84.4

Tonight is a good opportunity for Orioles hitters to be patient. Ramos walks a lot of guys; nearly six per nine innings. And he also does not go very deep into ballgames; his longest start is five innings.That will mean early action from the bullpen. So, please for the love of baseball, don't chase balls out of the strike zone, boys.

RHP Bud Norris, Baltimore
2014 stats: 5 G, 5 GS, 2-2, 3.94 ERA, 29.2 IP, 13 ER, 7 BB, 20 SO, .274 BAA, 1.28 WHIP
Last start (vs. Pittsburgh): 5.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, W

Norris has been a surprise this first month of the season. He has recovered well from getting knock around by Detroit to begin the year and been able to get his ERA under four and is going for his third straight win. According to Fangraphs, his velocity is up a tick from last year, but that's fairly negligible.

A bigger difference may be that he has been using the fastball more than ever before, 61.4 percent, compared to 55 percent for his career. This may be the reason his walk rate is at an all time low as well, a little less than six percent.

However, he does need to start going a little deeper into games. He tends to go farther than peers Miguel Gonzalez and Wei-Yin Chen; he posted one of the few Oriole seven inning starts, against Toronto, but each of his previous three has been shorter than the one before.

Lineups

Orioles (w/ career statistics against Ramos)

RF Nick Markakis (L) 3-for-8, .375 BA, 1 2B
3B Manny Machado (R) 0-for-4, .000 BA, 1 SO
LF Nelson Cruz (R) none
CF Adam Jones (R) 1-for-8, .125 BA, 1 SO
SS J.J. Hardy (R) 5-for-9, .556 BA, 1 2B, 2 HR, 1 BB, 1 SO
DH Delmon Young (R) none
1B Steve Pearce (R) 0-for-2, .000 BA, 1 BB
2B Jonathan Schoop (R) none
C Caleb Joseph (R) none

Jeez Buck, you do realize Markakis is left-handed, right? You could squeeze one more righty in there. It is a small sample size for everyone on the Orioles roster. Hardy has the most at-bats with a measly nine, but he has crushed in those nine at-bats; two bombs and eight RBI. As I mentioned above, it is unlikely Ramos goes deep into this game so these numbers won't mean much past the fifth inning.

One has to feel good for Joseph. He is a career minor league who will be making his Major League debut at the age of 27. Joseph impressed with the bat last season, but has struggled a bit in Norfolk in 2014: .261/.284/.402 with two home runs and 11 RBI.

Rays (w career statistics against Norris)

2B Ben Zobrist (S) 1-for-8, .125 BA, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 SO
CF Desmond Jennings (R) 2-for-5, .400 BA, 1 2B, 1 BB
LF Matt Joyce (L) 2-for-4, .500 BA, 2 BB
3B Evan Longoria (R) 1-for-6, .167 BA, 1 2B, 1 BB, 3 SO
1B James Loney (L) 9-for-17, .529 BA, 2 2B, 2 BB, 4 SO
RF Wil Myers (R) 0-for-4, .000 BA
DH David DeJesus (L) 7-for-13, .538 BA, 2 HR, 2 BB, 1 SO
SS Yunel Escobar (R) 1-for-4, .250 BA, 1 BB, 3 SO
C Ryan Hanigan (R) 3-for-11, .273 BA, 1 BB, 2 SO

Most of these guys are getting used to seeing Norris. I'm sure Loney and DeJesus couldn't be more happy about that. Norris has held is own against Tampa overall: four starts, 1-2 with a 4.19 ERA. The last time he faced them he threw a gem: seven innings, one earned run and an Orioles win. He wouldn't mind a repeat performance.

Notes

  • Matt Wieters is expected to stay off the disabled list. Dr. Andrews prescribed some rest. He will be able to hit.
  • Caleb Joseph is in Tampa Bay with the team, has a locker and will wear number 36
  • Roch Kubatko shared this anecdote: Tides manager Ron Johnson pulled prank on Joseph, saying he was scratched from lineup as punishment for talking to opposing player at BP
  • Jemile Weeks will be optioned for Joseph
  • According to the Tides twitter: "Joseph batted .467 (14-30) with 1 home run, 3 doubles and 4 RBI against left-handed pitching with Norfolk this season. "
  • Chris Davis was again spotted on the field running and throwing.
  • MLB will allow players to use pink bats on Mother's Day after banning it last season
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