Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles @ Texas Rangers, 3-5 June 2014

Scott Halleran

After salvaging the Astros series with a split, the O's head to Arlington to wrap up their road trip.

Tuesday, 3 June, 8:05 ET: Ubaldo Jimenez @ Joe Saunders
Jimenez Saunders
Stat 2013 YTD 2013 YTD
IP 182.2 62.0 183.0 8.2
ERA 3.30 4.65 5.26 4.15
FIP 3.43 4.07 4.72 4.34
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .239/.317/.367 .259/.349/.361 .311/.365/.507 .289/.386/.447

Jimenez recovered a bit from a pair of five-run starts to allow just one run over six innings against Houston on Thursday. He walked three and struck out eight, which is about what you'd expect from him on a good night. With Jimenez, the walks just come with the territory; as long as he's getting strikeouts and ground balls, you can live with them.

Joe Saunders, the Orioles, and Arlington, huh? That sounds familiar. Thanks to a line drive to the ankle in April, Saunders has made just a pair of starts this year, and this will be his second start after coming off of the DL. The first was a solid outing against the Twins, in which he pitched five scoreless innings and struck out six. Saunders is, of course, a lefty whose fastball sits in the upper 80s, and he doesn't get very many strikeouts. He throws fastballs over half of the time, mostly sinkers, though righties will see more four-seamers than lefties. His main offspeed offerings are a slider against lefties and a changeup against righties, and he'll also drop in the occasional curveball against both.

Maybe hot: Nelson Cruz (.917 OPS, 35 PA), Adrian Beltre (1.068 OPS, 19 PA)

Likely not: Nick Markakis (.526 OPS, 29 PA), Alex Rios (.411 OPS, 18 PA)

Wednesday, 4 June, 8:05 ET: Bud Norris @ Nick Martinez
Norris Martinez
Stat 2013 YTD 2013 YTD
IP 176.2 62.1 - 39.1
ERA 4.18 4.04 - 2.75
FIP 3.86 4.55 - 4.67
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .283/.349/.429 .238/.316/.388 - .282/.351/.443

Norris has given up four runs over six innings in each of his last two outings. That isn't good, but it's enough to keep the O's in the game, at least in theory. Surprisingly, despite pitching for Houston for several years, Norris has hardly faced any current Rangers. You'd think they'd have played each other in interleague often.

Martinez is a rookie who's got a big gap between his peripherals and results so far, but he's just 23 and has had some success in the minors. So far in the majors, the righty has thrown fastballs over 60% of the time to righties and 70% of the time to lefties, even though the pitch only sits around 91 mph. He's used his slider quite a bit against righties, showing some faith in it as an out pitch, but he hasn't used his other offspeed stuff (a changeup and curve) enough to generate much of a pattern yet.

Thursday, 5 June, 8:05 ET: Miguel Gonzalez @ Colby Lewis
Gonzalez Lewis
Stat 2013 YTD 2013 YTD
IP 171.1 58.1 - 48.0
ERA 3.78 4.17 - 5.44
FIP 4.45 4.48 - 3.99
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .243/.300/.413 .265/.337/.435 - .340/.396/.470

Gonzalez has lasted for at least six innings and surrendered two runs in each of his last three outings. It would be great if he started making it through seven innings regularly, but it's hard to complain about his last several starts.

Lewis underwent multiple surgeries over the last couple of years: the first for a torn flexor tendon in his right (pitching) elbow, the second for bone spurs in his right hip. He's been hit hard since his return, allowing a .401 BABiP - which isn't entirely poor luck, as batters have managed a 24.7% line drive rate against him as well (league average LD%: 20.2). Lewis is a pure fastball-slider guy against righties, but against lefties he mixes things up a lot, replacing some four-seam fastballs with sinkers and adding curveballs and changeups.

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