How much fun can you pack into one night of baseball? The O's are gonna be wearing their alternate blacks. It's fireworks night, student discount night and reunion night at the ball park. Former O's Danny Valencia, Jeremy Guthrie and good 'ol Bruce Chen return to Baltimore. David Lough gets to see some of his old mates as well. And we may see some triple digits on the speed gun from KC's young righty.
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, Orioles
2014 stats: 4 G, 0-3, 6.75 ERA, 21.1 IP, 16 ER, 13 BB, 18 SO, .314 BAA, 1.88 WHIP
Last start (vs. Boston): 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO, ND
We know that 2014 has been a disappointment thus far for Ubaldo. However, we must also acknowledge that this past Sunday was, by far, his best outing. He was undone by a three-run homer by Jonny Gomes. That's all I really care to mention about that nightmare of a game. *cough* transfer rule *cough*
He finally gets to face a team outside of the AL East tonight and it's a club he has had modest success facing. In his career he has made nine starts against the Royals with a 4-2 record and a 3.53 ERA; nothing crazy. His last match-up with them was this past September. He went seven innings, allowed seven hits, no walks, one run and struck out 10 batters.
Jimenez needs to be more economical with his pitches. He is walking a ridiculous 5.48 per nine innings pitched. In Boston it took 107 pitches to make it through just 5.1 innings. Let's see "good Ubaldo" out there tonight.
RHP Yordano Ventura, Royals
2014 stats: 3 G, 1-1, 2.65 ERA, 17.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 BB, 19 SO, .190 BAA, 1.12 WHIP
Last start (vs. Minnesota): 4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO, L
Abbreviated scouting report: he throws hard. He is not the biggest guy, 5' 11", 180 lbs. His repertoire is made up of five pitches. The four seam fastball is his go-to and may already be one of the best in baseball. It's certainly one of the fastest. According to Brooks, it is averaging 98.3 miles per hour on the gun. He has gotten it up to 102.9 this year. The O's can expect to see that pitch about half the time.
The other half of his pitches are made up of a sinker, cutter, curve and change. The curve and change get equal time, around 18 percent each. The curveball is of the 12-to-6 variety and sputters in at 83 miles per hour. It is a nice pitch but, from the little I have seen, his change-up is the best complement. His arm action has looked great; hitters think a fastball is coming, but instead of 98 mile per hour heat they get 88 miles per hour on the black of the plate. The sinker and cutter are afterthoughts, though they come in at 99 and 97 miles per hour respectively.
A big knock on Ventura has been his control, but that has not been a big issue this season. But, as with most young starters, he can be volatile and things can change with his accuracy. None of the O's have seen Ventura before. I'm sure he will be happy to introduce himself.
Royals (w/ career statistics against Jimenez)
|RF Norichika Aoki (L)||none|
|2B Omar Infante (R)||3-for-16, .188 BA, 1 3B, 3 SO|
|1B Eric Hosmer (L)||8-for-22, .364 BA, 2 HR, 4 BB, 4 SO|
|DH Billy Butler (R)||6-for-22, .273 BA, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 BB, 4 SO|
|LF Alex Gordon (L)||5-for-23, .217 BA, 2 BB, 6 SO|
|C Salvador Perez (R)||2-for-13, .154 BA, 1 SO|
|3B Mike Moustakas (L)||4-for-23, .174 BA, 2 2B, 2 BB, 8 SO|
|SS Alcides Escobar (R)||3-for-23, .130 BA, 2 2B, 2 BB, 3 SO|
|CF Jarrod Dyson (L)||2-for-6, .333 BA, 1 2B, 2 BB, 4 SO|
Hosmer has had his way with Jimenez. Butler has had decent success. Nearly everyone else has struggled with Ubaldo. Kansas City has hit the fewest home runs in all of baseball; nine. They have scored the third fewest runs in the league, in front of only the Padres and Astros. Their slugging percentage is in the bottom five as well; the worst in the AL. They don't even walk a lot. You can do this Ubaldo. I know you can. If this game doesn't go well it may be time to get a little worried about the O's high cost free agent.
Royals on the DL: LHP Tim Collins, RHP Luke Hochevar, OF Lorenzo Cain, LHP Francisley Bueno
Orioles (w/ 2014 stats)
|RF Nick Markakis (L)||.281/.337/.348, 4 2B, 1 3B, 6 RBI 8 BB, 9 SO|
|DH Nelson Cruz (R)||.312/.398/.610, 5 2B, 6 HR, 23 RBI, 11 BB, 16 SO|
|1B Chris Davis (L)||.257/.380/.392, 4 2B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 13 BB, 24 SO|
|CF Adam Jones (R)||.291/.319/.407, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 4 BB, 21 SO|
|C Matt Wieters (S)||.348/.384/.591, 4 2B, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 5 BB, 14 SO|
|SS J.J. Hardy (R)||.231/.236/.288, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 11 SO|
|3B Ryan Flaherty (L)||.179/.270/.232, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 12 SO|
|2B Jonathan Schoop (R)||.261/.282/.449, 7 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 1 BB, 21 SO|
|LF David Lough (L)||.191/.255/.277, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 8 SO|
The Orioles are in the bottom third of the league in terms of hitters striking; not bad. However, none of the current Birds have faced Ventura, and a team that struck out nine times against Drew Hutchison yesterday may have some difficulty with the youngster's stuff this evening. Not saying they won't score some runs, but there may be K's-a-plenty.
According to the Weather Channel, at 7 pm in Baltimore it is expected to be 59 degrees. There will be 12 mile per hour winds going south east. That may push balls toward right field in Camden Yards. There is a 70 percent chance of precipitation, so don't get there too early expecting batting practice on the field.