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Series Preview: Orioles @ Angels

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Baltimore Orioles (8-5 – 1st, AL East) @ Anaheim Angels (4-9 – 4th, AL West)

After back-to-back series wins in Toronto and Chicago, the Orioles head to Anaheim for a three game set to finish off the ten game road swing. They’ll be back in Baltimore on Tuesday to face the Blue Jays once again. Will any of you left coast Camden Chatters be on hand for this series?

Biggest story from this past series involved Matt Wieters’ game 1 heroics (2 home runs, including a grand slam in extra innings). He’s pretty good, that one. Other notable performances included Nolan Reimold (2 home runs, although dealing with neck spasms, leg cramps, and other various ailments) and Adam Jones (2 home runs). In other news, Wei-Yin Chen picked up his first MLB win. Solid stuff.

Fairly pedestrian start for the Angels, who are still waiting for some significant bats to get rolling. Those bats shall remain anonymous to avoid jinxing the situation. They’re also having some questionable performances from the bullpen early on. Kendrys Morales is a good story though. Nice to see him hitting the ball rather well in his return to baseball.

Three game set begins tonight at 10:05pm EST. Brian Matusz will be on the hill for the Orioles. Here’s hoping he returns to form as his first two starts have been pretty scary. Game two will also be an evening game. Sunday’s game three will be late afternoon for any east coasters.

Game 1 (Friday @ 10:05pm):

Probable Pitchers:

BAL – Brian Matusz (LHP, 0-2, 8.38 ERA)

LAA – Jerome Williams (RHP, 0-1, 16.88 ERA)

Scouting Report:

Has pitched with a number of different teams before landing with the Angels. Employs a low-90s fastball, slider, and changeup. Made heavy, heavy use of the sinker in his first outing this season. Likes to go down and in with the slider on lefties, but will stay away with the fastball and changeup. Doesn’t often throw the changeup to right-handed hitters.

Key Stats:

Williams was much better at home last year, with an ERA under 3 (albeit, a very small sample size). Current O’s lineup has limited numbers vs. Williams, but Matt Wieters is 1-3 with a home run. Williams has gone 2-0 vs. the O’s with 2.51 ERA in his career. The Angels have raked off of Matusz, with the exception of Bobby Abreu (0-6, 5Ks). Vernon Wells has a grand slam off of Kevin Gregg.

Game 2 (Saturday @ 9:05pm):

Probable Pitchers:

BAL – Jake Arrieta (RHP, 1-0, 2.66 ERA)

LAA – Jered Weaver (RHP, 2-0, 2.18 ERA)

Scouting Report:

Put together back-to-back 5+ WAR seasons in 2010 and 2011. Utilizes a variety of pitches including a fastball (both four-seam and two-seam), cutter, changeup, slider, and curveball. Not at all overpowering (fastball sits in the upper-80s/low-90s), but locates his pitches well. Reserves the changeup mostly for lefties and the slider for righties. Both pitches are kept away.

Key Stats:

Weaver has decent numbers against the Orioles, although his record hangs at 3-3. No current Oriole has hit Weaver especially well, although Nick Markakis is 5-18 lifetime with a home run and 2 RBI. Weaver has pitched well in April over his career (and also enjoys pitching at Anaheim Stadium). The current Angel lineup is just 3 for 24 against Arrieta, although he has yet to face Albert Pujols.

Game 3 (Sunday @ 3:35pm)

Probable Pitchers:

BAL – Wei-Yin Chen (LHP, 1-0, 3.27 ERA)

LAA – Dan Haren (RHP, 0-1, 4.76 ERA)

Scouting Report:

Makes heavy use of a cutter and supplements it with a two-seam fastball, curveball, and changeup. Like Weaver, hits about 90 on his fastball. Takes over 10 MPH off of the curveball.

Key Stats:

Only so-so stats versus the Orioles. Nice record at 5-3, but ERA sits up at 4.21. J.J. Hardy is 4-9 with 3 doubles and 4 RBI off of Haren. Matt Wieters is just 1-8 and Nick Markakis 4-20 (although Nicky does have a home run). Over the last three seasons, Haren has a 2.91 ERA in day games. Chen will obviously be making his first start against the Angels.