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ALCS 2014: Orioles and Royals starting pitchers for Game 4

Win or lose on Tuesday night, it'll be Miguel Gonzalez starting for the Orioles and Jason Vargas for the Royals in Game 4 on Wednesday afternoon.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to Tuesday's game, the Orioles and Royals locked in on their starting pitchers for a potential clinching Game 4. Soft-tossing lefty nemesis Jason Vargas will be the Kansas City starter, with Miguel Gonzalez starting Game 4 for Baltimore.

These were the pitchers originally expected to start Game 4 for each team. The Monday rainout created some uncertainty, as both Game 1 starters, Chris Tillman and James Shields, would be able to go on normal rest if their managers so chose. Neither one did. If the series goes at least five games - which, for O's fans sakes, hopefully it does - then we'll probably see Tillman and Shields each on an extra day of rest in Game 5.

Vargas getting squeezed out of the rotation due to the rain might not have been a bad thing for the Orioles. He memorably (for me, at least) pitched a three-hit shutout against the Orioles last May and his numbers against a lot of the Orioles hitters are not pretty, as Baseball Reference shows:

Adam Jones, for instance, has faced Vargas 27 times and has a .444 OPS. Nick Markakis has also faced Vargas 27 times, sporting a .619 OPS. There's also J.J. Hardy, with 17 PA against Vargas and a .607 OPS. That's a lot of struggle in that lineup.

On the other hand, Nelson Cruz has feasted on Vargas, which is what you'd expect a right-handed slugger to do. In 39 PA, Cruz has a 1.262 OPS. That includes four home runs in 30 at-bats. Delmon Young, in 19 appearances against Vargas, has an .810 OPS. Will that be enough to get him into the starting lineup? Young in the Kauffman Stadium outfield could be a bad matchup.

Gonzalez has not appeared in a game in 16 days, although according to Orioles reporters, he's thrown three bullpen sessions and a simulated game in that time. He should be well rested, in any case, and hopefully he will not be rusty.

Unlike Vargas against Orioles hitters, Gonzalez does not have any kind of significant record facing Royals hitters. He's faced Alex Gordon ten times, most of any Royals hitter. Gordon has a lone hit in those appearances, a triple.