Rare are the games where the Orioles can claim to hold some level of advantage in the matchup of starting pitchers, but tonight's contest against the Royals is one such game. Jeremy Guthrie, who survived the non-waiver trading deadline without being dealt from Baltimore, takes the mound against Luke Hochevar of Kansas City. Guthrie's sporting a 4.18 ERA, which sounds bad, but Hochevar has a 5.15 ERA, which is even worse. It seems Hochevar would fit right in the Baltimore rotation. He has more wins than Guthrie, though, with seven to Guthrie's five, once again proving that pitcher wins are a completely worthless statistic, especially within a single season.
On the other hand, both of these men are coming off a strong outing against a beast of the AL East in their respective most recent start. Guthrie went 7 innings giving up 1 ER against New York, and Hochevar had a similar 7 inning effort giving up only 2 ER against Boston. In all likelihood, the numbers mentioned in the previous sentence have virtually no predictive value for the outcome of this game, but there's really not much fun in sports if we don't take the most recent batch of numbers from a weighted random number generator and use them to build narratives.
Hochevar's lack of success is curious. He gets ground balls about half of the time. The only Orioles pitcher this season who can claim that is Zach Britton. But he doesn't get a ton of strikeouts - this year having the lowest strikeout rate of his career, a 4.70 K/9 - and gives up a lot of home runs. Yet he has a lower BABIP than league average at .274. Kansas City does not have a poor defense, though it also doesn't have a great one. Who knows? He's thrown 525.2 IP in MLB and has a 5.48 ERA, though. Did I mention he'd fit right in the Baltimore rotation?
And by the way, Hochevar giving up a lot of home runs? He's up against a Baltimore offense that has hit 125 homers, which is 4th in the AL and 5th in MLB. One might imagine that the left-handed Chris Davis is salivating. Although actually, while lefties bat much better off the right-handed Hochevar, it's the right-handed batters who hit most of the home runs. Which might mean that Mark Reynolds is salivating instead.
Speaking of hitters who will be salivating, that may be the entire Royals lineup, because the worst player in the major leagues (measured by Fangraphs WAR) is starting in left field for the O's. Well... no. There's nothing left to say about that.
|Orioles (J. Guthrie - R) @ Royals (L. Hochevar - R)|