This is what a winning streak feels like. The Orioles have won three in a row. The last two were against a couple of the best hurlers in baseball. Jose Quintana is not that and overall the White Sox are an inferior club. Will the Orioles rise above, or lower themselves to the competition?
RHP Miguel Gonzalez, Baltimore
2014 stats: 12 G, 11 GS, 4-4, 4.41 ERA, 63.1 IP, 10 HR, 23 BB, 55 SO, .272 BAA, 1.42 WHIP
Last start (@ Tampa Bay): 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 5 SO, 2 BB, W
Every start is a big one for MiGo at this point in the season. It is arguable that he has been the worst starter in the bunch for the O's. Some may say Ubaldo for his inconsistency or Tillman for his awful and short outings he has at times. But Gonzalez has the least upside and seems like the one that would fall into a bullpen role the easiest.
His saving grace, sadly, may be that Bud Norris injury. Norris is slated to pitch later this weak but words like "tightness" or "discomfort" are always worrisome.
As it seems to be the case with all pitchers in orange and black, Gonzalez's walks are up this year. As is his batting average against on balls in play. His velocity is down and maybe he just isn't that good anymore. Hopefully he makes me eat my words tonight.
LHP Jose Quintana, Chicago
2014 stats: 15 G, 3-7, 3.87 ERA, 90.2 IP, 5 HR, 26 BB, 75 SO, .266 BAA, 1.32 WHIP
Last start (@ Minnesota): 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 6 SO, 1 BB, ND
Pitch Selection in 2014 (Fangraphs)
Quintana has been good in 2014. He is striking out a career high 7.44 per nine innings and has the lowest FIP (3.01) and xFIP (3.53) in his three years in the bigs as well. The difference has been the rate at which he has been giving up the long ball.
His home runs allowed per nine innings sits at 0.50; less than half of what it was last season (1.04). His career rate is 0.89. However, he isn't getting that many more balls on the ground. Overall, Quintana's percentage of ground balls is 44.7%. This year, it is 45.4%, meaning he has increased that rate ever so slightly.
It seems to come down to luck. His batting average on balls in play is very high at .320, but his home run to fly ball ratio has mysteriously dropped from 10.2% in 2013 to 5.7% this year. That 5.7 number is likely not sustainable.
|CF Adam Eaton (L)||0-for-3, .000 BA, 1 SO|
|2B Gordon Beckham (R)||0-for-3, .000 BA, 2 SO|
|3B Conor Gillaspie (L)||1-for-3, .333 BA|
|1B Jose Abreu (R)||none|
|DH Adam Dunn (L)||0-for-3, .000 BA, 2 SO|
|SS Alexei Ramirez (R)||1-for-3, .333 BA|
|RF Dayan Viciedo (R)||2-for-2, 1.000 BA|
|LF Alejandro De Aza (L)||0-for-3, .000 BA, 2 SO|
|C Tyler Flowers (R)||none|
Some of the stats of notable names on the bench: Paul Konerko is 0-for-3, Moises Sierra is 1-for-5 with a strikeout. But wow, these are some SMALL numbers. (I realize the irony of capitalizing "small" that way).
The majority come from the one time Gonzalez has faced the White Sox back in 2013. He threw seven innings of one run baseball with six strikeouts and allowing four hits and one walk. He was dominant of the ChiSox lineup. Another performance like that would be lovely.
|RF Nick Markakis (L)||2-for-5, .400 BA, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 SO|
|LF Steve Pearce (R)||none|
|CF Adam Jones (R)||3-for-6, .500 BA, 2 HR, 2 BB, 1 SO|
|DH Nelson Cruz (R)||1-for-6, .167 BA, 1 HR, 2 SO|
|1B Chris Davis (L)||0-for-6, .000 BA, 2 SO|
|SS J.J. Hardy (R)||3-for-8, .375 BA, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 SO|
|3B Manny Machado (R)||1-for-8, .125 BA, 2 SO|
|2B Jonathan Schoop (R)||none|
|C Caleb Joseph (R)||none|
Davis is back in the lineup after having most of last night off before walking off in dramatic fashion. Pearce gets the start in left tonight. Just so you know, Delmon Young is 3-for-7 with 2 strikeouts in his career against Chicago's lefty. David Lough is 2-for-9 with a home run.
Quintana has faced the Orioles three times. All three were starts and he has accumulated 17.2 IP, a 4.08 ERA, and an 0-2 record. Everything is Baltimore's favor to keep the good times rolling. Yikes!