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Orioles @ Pirates lineups and game notes - May 21

Chris Tillman heads to the hill in an attempt to sweep the season series from Pittsburgh. The Pirates counter with lefty Wandy Rodriguez.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The game last night was a thing of beauty. Everything was clicking. Gonzalez got out of a few jams with the help of some solid defense. Caleb Joseph showed great patience at the plate. Tommy Hunter threw a scoreless inning. It wasn't a 1-2-3 outing but we will take what we can get. But my oh my, Chris Davis stole the show with his three bombs. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come. Let's start by sweeping Pittsburgh.

Time: 7:05 ET Place: PNC Park (Pittsburgh, PA)
Radio: BAL - WBAL 1090 AM PIT - KDKA-FM 93.7
TV: BAL - MASN 2 PIT - ROOT Sports


LHP Wandy Rodriguez, Pittsburgh

2014 stats: 5 G, 0-2, 6.84 ERA, 25.0 IP, 9 HR, 7 BB, 20 SO, .291 BAA, 1.48 WHIP
Last start (@ Milwaukee): 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 SO, ND

2014 Pitch Repertoire (FanGraphs)

Pitch Type Usage Velocity
Fastball 56.1% 88.3
Curveball 30.1% 74.2
Change-up 13.8% 82.7

It doesn't take very long to figure what has been Rodriguez's problem in the early goings of the season. He has the Wei-Yin Chen disease of failing to go deep into games. On average, he lasts five innings. On top of that, he is giving out home runs like they are candy, more than three per nine innings pitched.

Granted, he has been a tad unlucky. More than a quarter of the fly balls he allows keep sailing and leave the park for home runs. That number is bound to fall. On the other hand, his opponents batting average on balls in play is just .280. That is lower than his career number of .295. 

RHP Chris Tillman, Baltimore

2014 stats: 9 G, 4-2, 3.34 ERA, 56.2 IP, 7 HR, 20 BB, 43 SO, .231 BAA, 1.25 WHIP
Last start (@ Kansas City): 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 SO, CG, W

Tillman re-ignited the conversation on whether or not he is an ace with his performance against the Royals. He went all nine for his first complete game of the season. Is he an "ace"? I'm not sure, but he does a heck of a job and keeps the Orioles in nearly every game that he starts. 

Most of his numbers follow right along with his career averages. He has been keeping the ball on the ground slightly better this season and, as a result, he is not allowing many home runs. The only other stat of note is his batting average against on balls in play. It is a measly .257. They say league average is around .300. Although Tillman's career number is .274. Either way, I worry that he is occasionally lucky. But he is the benefactor of some Gold Glove defense behind him.


Orioles (w/ 2014 stats against left-handed pitchers)

RF Nick Markakis (L) .229/.275/.229, 3 BB, 10 SO
3B Manny Machado (R) .111/.111/.111, 4 SO
CF Adam Jones (R) .474/.512/.895, 5 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 3 BB, 2 SO
1B Chris Davis (L) .235/.316/.353, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 BB, 12 SO
LF Nelson Cruz (R) .346/.500/.654, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 BB, 6 SO
SS J.J. Hardy (R) .111/.200/.148, 1 2B, 3 BB, 2 SO
2B Jonathan Schoop (R) .143/.250/.143, 2 BB, 9 SO
C Caleb Joseph (R) .100/.182/.100, 1 BB, 1 SO
P Chris Tillman (R) career batting: 8 PA, 0-for-6, 1 SO

Same lineup as last night, except with Gonzalez swapped for Tillman. Five players on the roster have numbers against Rodriguez: Hardy (6-for-23 with three doubles and two home runs), Cruz (2-for-9), Davis (0-for-2), Delmon Young (0-for-2), and Steve Pearce (1-for-3 with a double). 

I get that Joseph gets the start because he is a right-handed hitter but has he proven he is any better with left-handed pitching than Clevenger? Give the Pride of Pigtown a shot against some southpaws.

Pirates (w/ career stats against Tillman)

RF Josh Harrison (R) none
2B Neil Walker (S) 1-for-1, 1.000 BA, 1 BB
CF Andrew McCutchen (R) 1-for-2, .500 BA, 1 2B
3B Pedro Alvarez (L) 1-for-3, .333 BA, 2 SO
LF Starling Marte (R) 0-for-1, .000 BA, 1 BB, 1 SO
1B Ike Davis (L) 1-for-3, .333 BA, 1 2B, 1 SO
SS Jordy Mercer (R) none
C Tony Sanchez (R) none
P Wandy Rodriguez (R) career batting: .133/.152/.155, 10 2B

Most of these numbers come from the May 1 game at Camden Yards where Tillman could only get through 4.2 innings, allowing three runs and striking out a season high eight. A game in which the O's won on a Matt Wieters walk off home run. The other active players with numbers against Tillman are Travis Snider (0-for-4), Clint Barmes (0-for-2), and Chris Stewart (2-for-6)

Last night, the Pirates managed to get on base at a decent rate. They were unlucky with three double plays. Expect a better offensive output tonight

Game Notes

  • Davis was the 20th Oriole to hit three home runs in a game, the first to do so in an interleague game.
  • Francisco Peguero is 14-for-44 during his rehab assignment in Norfolk. He is out of options and the end of the rehab stint is drawing closer and closer.
  • The guys at OBP Apparel noticed that Schoop was wearing Machado's glove last night.
  • The O's revealed their "Crush City" shirt being given away June 28 against Tampa.
  • Tripp Norton will represent the Orioles at this years First-Year Player Draft.
  • The Indians bullpen, which the O's will face in a four game series starting tomorrow, had to throw seven innings of relief today.
  • It's Matt Wieters' 28th birthday today. Have a good one, big fella.

facts from Orioles Public Relations and MASN's Roch Kubatko