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Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals, 29-30 May 2013

After a brief 3-3 road trip, the O's return to Camden Yards for an even briefer five-game homestand. First up is another pair of contests against the Nationals.

Patrick McDermott
Wednesday, 29 May: Chris Tillman vs. Jordan Zimmermann
Career Numbers Tillman vs. Nationals Zimmermann vs. O's
IP 5.0 26.2
ERA 1.80 2.70
FIP 3.30 4.52
Slash Line (Past Teams) .300/.391/.450 .257/.299/.426
Slash Line (Current Players) .313/.389/.500 .213/.213/.311

Pitcher-batter matchups are small enough sample sizes to begin with, but interleague play makes intra-division matchup data seem like several seasons' worth. Tillman's been doing pretty well this year, but I'd rather not have a repeat of his outing in Toronto, in which he gave up ten hits in five innings. He's also allowed two home runs in three of his last four starts. Meanwhile, Zimmermann is having himself quite a year, averaging over seven innings per start with a sub-two ERA and hardly ever surrendering walks and homers. He's due for some regression in his LOB% and HR/FB%, though; perhaps the O's can provide it.

Thursday, 30 May: Freddy Garcia vs. Dan Haren
Career Numbers Garcia vs. Nationals Haren vs. O's
IP 9.0 69.1
ERA 3.00 4.02
FIP 1.65 3.41
Slash Line (Past Teams) .182/.206/.273 .250/.291/.386
Slash Line (Current Players) .132/.175/.132 .320/.342/.485

If this were 2007-2011 Dan Haren, I'd be very pessimistic about this matchup. At it is, I'm expecting both sides to have slugfests. Haren has a 32.4% ground ball rate, which explains why he's allowing nearly two homers per nine innings and has a 5.43 ERA. Freddy Garcia is, well, Freddy Garcia. Let's just hope the O's mash more taters than the Nats do.

Fun fact: Jason Hammel has two hits in five plate appearances against Haren.

Fielding is the most overlooked and maybe the least understood talent in baseball. Fans love to see diving stops and running catches, but the real key to fielding is anticipation and concentration. So many great running catches come when a fielder is making up for a bad jump on the ball. To me a great fielder is one who makes all the plays look simple. - Earl Weaver