The Orioles and Yankees have battled one another for second place in the division for most of the season. At this moment, New York finds themselves in front by a game. It is a match-up of mediocrity with each team looking to string together any form of evidence that they are better than a middling club. A win over the other may provide that.
RHP Hiroki Kuroda, New York
2014 stats: 14 G, 4-5, 4.32 ERA, 83.1 IP, 10 HR, 17 BB, 57 SO, .266 BAA, 1.25 WHIP
Last start (@ Oakland): 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 SO, L
Pitch Selection in 2014 (Fangraphs)
Kuroda has been performing slightly below his career averages across the board thus far in 2014. His ERA is a bit elevated and that may be from a lower strikeout rate (6.16 K/9 in 2014; 6.71 for career), a higher batting average on balls in play (.291; .282) and a higher home run to fly ball ratio (11.2%; 10.2%). They are minor but meaningful slips.
The 39-year-old has faced Baltimore seven times in his career. All seven have been starts and it has been a good showing for the Japanese starter. Here is his line against the O's: 3-3, 3.15 ERA, 1 CG, 27 SO, 2 BB. Yeah, 27 strikeouts to just two walks. That is a 13.50 SO/BB ratio. Unacceptable for the Orioles, especially when Kuroda has only a 3.27 SO/BB for his entire career.
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, Baltimore
2014 stats: 14 G, 2-8, 4.86 ERA, 76.0 IP, 9 HR, 45 BB, 68 SO, .247 BAA, 1.51 WHIP
Last start (vs. Toronto): 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 5 BB, 2 SO, L
What can really be said here that Oriole fans don't already know? Jimenez has been a disappointment to this point. He was good his last time out against a tough Toronto lineup. However, he hurts himself with the walks. In his last three starts he has thrown 14 innings and walked 14. That can't happen.
This Yankee team he faces tonight is in the middle of the pack in terms of walks. So, of course they will walk a half dozen times tonight. And do you really wanna know Ubaldo's numbers against the Evil Empire? Fine, he is 1-4 in five starts with a 6.67 ERA and a .298 batting average against. Oh and his strikeout to walk ratio versus the Yanks? 1.53.
Baltimore Orioles (w/ career stats against Kuroda)
|RF Nick Markakis (L)||8-for-22, .364 BA, 2 2B, 1 HR, 1 SO|
|DH Steve Pearce (R)||0-for-4, .000 BA|
|CF Adam Jones (R)||6-for-21, .286 BA, 1 2B, 1 BB|
|1B Chris Davis (L)||6-for-21, .286, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 SO|
|LF Nelson Cruz (R)||3-for-17, .176 BA, 1 BB, 4 SO|
|SS J.J. Hardy (R)||3-for-20, .150 BA, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 SO|
|3B Manny Machado (R)||4-for-15, .267 BA,1 2B, 1 HR|
|2B Ryan Flaherty (L)||0-for-7, .000 BA, 2 SO|
|C Nick Hundley (R)||2-for-14, .143 BA, 1 HR, 2 SO|
Pearce is DH'ing and Flaherty gets the nod at second. Both are a little bit of a surprise. Yes, Pearce has been good as of late but he hasn't fared well with Kuroda. Delmon Young, the alternative to Pearce, is 1-for-3 in his attempts with the Yankees righty. Either way it is a small sample size.
Flaherty hasn't been playing much but he gets a chance here. The regular starter, Jonathan Schoop is 1-for-2 in his career against Kuroda. It is a coin flip here.
New York Yankees (w/ career stats against Jimenez)
|LF Brett Gardner (L)||2-for-10, .200 BA, 2 SO|
|SS Derek Jeter (R)||1-for-6, .167 BA, 2 SO|
|CF Jacoby Ellsbury (L)||4-for-7, .571 BA, 1 BB|
|1B Mark Teixiera (S)||1-for-16, .063 BA, 2 BB, 7 SO|
|C Brian McCann (L)||8-for-28, .286 BA, 1 HR, 3 BB, 4 SO|
|DH Carlos Beltran (S)||5-for-13, .385 BA, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 BB|
|RF Ichiro Suzuki (L)||3-for-12, .250 BA|
|2B Brian Roberts (S)||0-for-5, .000 BA, 1 BB, 2 SO|
|3B Yangervis Solarte (S)||
1-for-1, 1.000 BA, 1 BB
Jimenez has struggled with the Bronx Bombers in the past but he only seems to have to worry about a couple of these guys. Ellsbury has smashed him and both McCann and Beltran have had decent success.
On the bench, some names to look out for are Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson. Soriano is 4-for-11 against Jimenez. Johnson hasn't had a ton of success (8-for-34, .235 BA, 5 strikeouts) but has the benefit of seeing him a lot and has managed a few nice moments (4 doubles, 10 walks)
- Manny Machado has unveiled a salsa line....my god.
- Jimenez is pitching on six days rest. The last time he did that was against Minnesota when he went seven scorless innings and struck out 10.
- Steve Lombardozzi is in a 1-for-23 slump down at Norfolk
- The Aberdeen Ironbirds have made their outfield fence orange and changed their uniform colors to match the Orioles orange and black scheme.
- Davis, who his his 100th home run for the Orioles on Tuesday, is the 23rd player in O's history to do so.