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Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles (21-14) @ Minnesota Twins (16-15)

The Twins spoiled the O's home series by taking two out of three. Will the Orioles get revenge this weekend?

Steve Johnson will make his 2013 debut this series.
Steve Johnson will make his 2013 debut this series.

After just three games at home after their long west coast road trip, the Orioles are back on the road tonight to start a three game series against the Minnesota Twins. It was thought that the Twins would be doormats this year. And while that may still come to pass, right now they're not so bad. They beat the Orioles two games out of three way back at the start of April, and they just finished taking three out of four from the Boston Red Sox.

Game 1: Jason Hammel (4.10 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (6.35 ERA)

Jason Hammel hasn't been terrible this season, but he's been much more like the Jason Hammel from the Rockies and less like the version we saw in 2012. He has pitched less than seven innings in all seven of his starts, and in only one of them did he even pitch into the seventh.

Mike Pelfrey has made six starts and four of them have been pretty lousy. His best game of the season came in his last start against the Indians in which he gave up one run in six innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. Can he string together two in a row? Shockingly, Mike Pelfrey is only 29 years old. Doesn't it feel like he's been around a long time? He's just a whippersnapper.

Hammel vs. Twins Pelfrey vs. Orioles
IP 27 2/3
11 2/3
ERA 2.93 3.86
WHIP 0.940 1.714
Slash Line (past teams) .161/.262/.258 .318/.385/.409
Slash Line (current players) .276/.385/.487 .305/.388/.407

Look out for Jamey Carroll, who has a .400 BA with 2 doubles, a triple, and four walks against Hammel in 19 plate appearances. Justin Morneau (12 PA), and Josh Willingham (16 PA) have also hit Hammel well, each with an OPS over >1 against him in a small sample size.

Only two Orioles have double digit plate appearances against Pelfrey. Nate McLouth, with 18, as the most, and has gone 4-for-16 with a walk and two doubles. Chris Snyder will most likely not face him, but he's OPS'ing a cool .920 in 11 plate appearances.

Game 2: Steve Johnson (1st 2013 start) vs. Vance Worley (6.95 ERA)

With Miguel Gonzalez on the disabled list, Steve Johnson is getting a shot to prove his worth. Son of Dave has been good at the major league level in his brief time, but the skeptics wonder how long he can keep it up.

Vance Worley, in addition to being a four eyes, has not had a very good year. His ERA is skewed some by one spectacularly bad outing against the Mets in which he gave up nine runs in just one inning, but the rest of his starts haven't exactly been spectacular either. He has already faced the Orioles once this year and had a pitching line of 5 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. That's the game that went into the 9th inning tied when Jim Johnson gave up the losing run.

Johnson vs. Twins Worley vs Orioles
IP 0 11
ERA N/A 3.27
WHIP N/A 1.455
Slash line (past teams) N/A .280/.308/.300
Slash line (current players) N/A .282/.333/.308

No Oriole has more than six plate appearances against Worley, but in 3 PA's each, Manny Machado is hitting 1.000/1.000/.1000 and Nick Markakis is hitting 1.000/1.000/1.333 so Worley better watch out. And Steve Johnson is a total mystery to past and present Twins!

Game 3: Wei-Yin Chen (3.40 ERA) vs Scott Diamond (3.03 ERA)

Other than his start against the Mariners two starts ago, Chen has been pretty darn good this year. I'd still like to see him pitch deeper into games, but given what the other pitchers have been doing on the team, he's been steady. Just as he was last year, I'd say.

In addition to having an awesome name (is he related to Neil? Can anyone confirm?), Scott Diamond is having a pretty great year so far. One reason is because he's walked 0.9 batter per nine innings. That is not many. He doesn't strike many guys out, either. And you can give up a few extra hits in a game when you're not walking anyone. Diamond's best start of the season was his last when he pitched seven shutout innings against the Red Sox.

Chen vs Twins Diamond vs Orioles
IP 7 (1 game)
6 (1 game)
ERA 3.86 7.50
WHIP 1.000 1.667
Slash line (past teams) .222/.267/.296 .346/.370/.538
Slash line (current players) .294/.368/.412 .294/.333/.353

No Orioles have more than 3 plate appearances against Diamond. No Twin has more than 4 against Chen.