After some rain and a trip up I-95, these two teams are set to go at it again. The lineups are pretty similar, but this time they take out the pain of watching a pitcher bat and, ya know, Steve Pearce is back in there.
Mother Nature wouldn't let last night's affair get started. That game will be moved to August fourth. However, the two teams will face off tonight. The weather has been pretty gross around the area today but, according to weather.com, it should clear up right around game time and this one will go into the books.
The starting pitchers are the same as last night. So, apologies, but their scouting reports are going to be the same here as they were in last night's preview.
RHP Bud Norris, Baltimore
2014 stats: 14 G, 7-5, 3.62 ERA, 87.0 IP, 10 HR, 60 SO, 28 BB, .231 BAA, 1.16 WHIP
Last start (June 21 @ NY Yankees): 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 4 SO, 2 BB, W
Possibly the biggest surprise from the first half, Norris returns from a groin injury that kept him out of action for a little over two weeks. That said, this outing isn't expected to be too long unless his pitch count if especially low.
"I go with some caution in the next couple starts," said manager Buck Showalter. "It has been a little while."
There isn't much else to say about Norris that Oriole fans don't already know. He is both walking and striking out fewer batters than his career numbers, but he is also allowing fewer hits on the balls in play. That will likely level out at some point but with the way the Baltimore bats have been going, a few extra hits shouldn't hurt.
Norris and the Nationals have crossed paths just three times. In those times he is 2-0 with a 3.66 ERA. He has gone 19.2 innings, given up two home runs, walked eight and struck out 16.
RHP Doug Fister, Washington
2014 stats: 11 G, 7-2, 2.93 ERA, 70.2 IP, 9 HR, 42 SO, 6 BB, .253 BAA, 1.05 WHIP
Last start (July 2 vs. Colorado): 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 5 SO, 0 BB, W
Fister missed the first month of the season with injuries to his elbow and lat. Since returning, he has been lights out. Come on, look at those walks. He has only issued six free passes so far this season. Even if he pitched in April that would expand to nine or ten walks. Long story short: he stays in the strike zone.
That said, he doesn't strikeout to many guys and his batting average on balls in play (.262) indicates that he has been a bit luck to have such a low ERA. His FIP (3.96) and xFIP (3.77) do the same. This is one of those rare cases where fans shouldn't have an issue with Oriole hitters swinging away.
The Nationals starter has faced the O's eight times in the past. He is 3-2 with a 5.30 ERA, striking out 35 and walking just six and an opponent batting average of .293.
Washington Nationals (w/ stats against Norris)
|CF Denard Span (L)
|3B Anthony Rendon (R)
|RF Jayson Werth (R)
||2-for-14, .143 BA, 7 SO
|1B Adam LaRoche (L)
||2-for-5, .400 BA, 1 BB, 1 SO
|DH Ryan Zimmerman (R)
||4-for-11, .364 BA, 2 HR, 1 SO
|LF Bryce Harper (L)
|SS Ian Desmond (R)
|C Wilson Ramos (R)
||0-for-0, .000 BA, 1 BB
|2B Danny Espinosa (L)
||2-for-10, .200 BA, 1 2B, 1 BB 4 SO
The lineup is nearly identical as last nights. However, Espinosa is at second and batting ninth. Zimmerman moves to DH to give him and his wonky throwing motion a half night off. And Rendon takes his spot at the hot corner.
Here are the numbers for the bench: Nate McLouth is 0-for-9 against his former teammate, Danny Espinosa is 2-for-10 with a double and four strikeouts, Wilson Ramos is 3-for-9, and Scott Hairston is 1-for-5 with a home run.
Baltimore Orioles (w/ stats against Fister)
|RF Nick Markakis (L)
||8-for-19, .421 BA, 2 2B, 1 HR, 1 BB, 3 SO
|LF Steve Pearce (R)
|CF Adam Jones (R)
||5-for-14, .357 BA, 1 SO
|DH Nelson Cruz (R)
||8-for-21, .381 BA, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 BB, 2 SO
|1B Chris Davis (L)
||3-for-10, .300 BA, 2 HR, 5 SO
|SS J.J. Hardy (R)
||4-for-22, .182 BA, 2 2B, 1 BB, 5 SO
|3B Manny Machado (R)
||0-for-2, 1 SO
|C Caleb Joseph (R)
|2B Jonathan Schoop (R)
Same goes for the birds, they left most things alone. But the big bopper himself, Pearce, is back in there. He has never faced Fister but he is as hot of a hitter as the Orioles have right now. It's nice to have him back.
The stats for the bench against Fister: Delmon Young (4-for-15, 1 2B, 1 HR against Fister) and David Lough (3-for-11 with a strikeout).