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Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles @ San Diego Padres, 6-7 August 2013

After a series loss against the Mariners ended the O's homestand at a disappointing 4-5 record, the Birds begin an eight-game roadtrip against the NL West, starting in San Diego.

Greg Fiume

The last time the Orioles faced the Padres, the O's lost both games in a two-game series at Camden Yards. With fifty games left to play and their chances of coming back in the division race looking slim, it feels like the Orioles really need to repay the favor in San Diego. Of note: the Tuesday game is at 10:10 ET, but despite another off-day on Thursday, the Wednesday game is at 3:40 ET.

Tuesday, 6 August: Bud Norris vs. Edinson Volquez
Career Numbers Norris vs. Padres Volquez vs. O's
IP 23.0 14.0
ERA 3.13 6.43
FIP 3.49 5.02
Slash Line (Past Teams) .188/.281/.294 .310/.397/.569
Slash Line (Current Players) .263/.317/.421 .311/.373/.644

Norris has faced the Padres four times in the past, twice each in 2010 and 2011. They've had enough turnover since that the second slash line above consists of just 41 PA. Norris was pretty good in his O's debut, giving up two solo homers in six innings while striking out eight. His flyball tendencies will make me nervous whenever he pitches at Camden Yards, but they could serve him well in Petco Park.

Volquez opposed the Orioles twice while with the Rangers, back in 2005 and 2007, and mostly recently as a Red in 2011. He gets more groundballs and strikeouts than average, but walks far too many batters (4.27 BB/9 this year, 4.82 career). Between the groundballs and pitching in Petco, he limits home runs pretty well, but all those walks mean that when he does give one up, it's likely to do a lot of damage. The free passes also mean he doesn't get very deep in games; he's only pitched more than six innings once since 12 June.

Maybe hot: J.J. Hardy (.979 OPS, 2 HR in 16 PA), Nate McLouth (1.101 OPS, 11 PA), Chase Headley (1.121 OPS, 11 PA)

Wednesday, 7 August: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Eric Stults
Career Numbers Gonzalez vs. Padres Stults vs. O's
IP - -
ERA - -
FIP - -
Slash Line (Past Teams) - -
Slash Line (Current Players) - .000/.333/.000 (3 PA)

Gonzalez has never faced a Padre, past or present. Perhaps that will give him a little more time to settle in on Wednesday, and an opportunity to bounce back from a pair of poor outings, in which he's given up 17 hits in 8.1+ IP. As with Norris, the trip to Petco may help Gonzalez out, since he's another flyball pitcher. Remember when Jason Hammel was an excellent groundball pitcher? Or when Zach Britton seemed like he might become one? Or, heck, Brad Bergesen's solid 2009? Now that the infield defense is excellent, the starters are all flyball guys.

Stults has never pitched against the Orioles, and he's left-handed. I'm already scared; let's check his velocity... yyyep, he usually tops out around 89. Good luck, Miguel; you're gonna need it.

A catcher doesn't need a great arm; he needs a pitcher who will watch the runner on base and keep the runner near the bag by throwing over there. ...The greatest arm in the world won't help a catcher when the runner is halfway to second base before the ball gets to home plate. - Earl Weaver