The Texas Rangers come into town to start a series on Monday night. They've been underwhelming this year, which makes them fully the sort of team for the Orioles to lose three out of four games to, as they just showed this past weekend against the Rays. The first game of the series will also happen to be the first game of Manny Machado's fully-upheld five game suspension.
How creative will the Orioles have to be with the lineup? Then again, they made it a month without Machado already this year. Five games is nothing, although they don't get to replace him on the roster this time.
LHP Joe Saunders, Rangers
2014: 7 GS, 34.2 IP, 5.19 ERA, 20 SO, 18 BB, .351 BAA, 2.05 WHIP
Last start (vs. Tigers): 4 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 1 HR, 5 BB, 2 SO
There's no way to feel good about the Orioles facing a guy like Saunders after watching them against Erik Bedard on Saturday. Of course, Saunders at his best was never as good as Bedard at his best, and even now their repertoire is not exactly lined up. However, the general idea of a soft-tossing lefty who's prone to walking people and getting hit big is always something of a problem for this aggressive Orioles team, and well, here you are.
Saunders pitched a complete game against the Orioles last year, and only allowed four runs in 15 innings across two starts. I'm still embarrassed on their behalf. Maybe this team will fare better, but probably not because it's mostly the same guys.
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, Orioles
2014: 16 GS, 88 IP, 4.70 ERA, 77 SO, 53 BB, .253 BAA, 1.56 WHIP
Last start (vs. White Sox): 6.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 6 SO
Ah, Ubaldo. What else is there to say about him? Probably nothing. I wish I didn't have to think about him. The weather is heating up and maybe Camden Yards is going to start seeing the kind of home runs we're used to seeing there. Ubaldo has been giving up enough home runs in not-summer weather. He has a 6.28 ERA at home as it is. Good luck.
|TEXAS RANGERS||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Shin-Soo Choo - LF||Nick Markakis - RF|
|Elvis Andrus - SS||Steve Pearce - 1B|
|Carlos Pena - 1B||Nelson Cruz - LF|
|Adrian Beltre - 3B||Adam Jones - CF|
|Alex Rios - RF||Chris Davis - 3B|
|Leonys Martin - CF||Delmon Young - DH|
|R. Chirinos - C||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Rougned Odor - 2B||Jonathan Schoop - 2B|
|Michael Choice - DH||Caleb Joseph - C|
|Joe Saunders - LHP||Ubaldo Jimenez - RHP|
Nelson Cruz is 11-35 with two home runs against Saunders. That sounds promising enough. On the other side, Adrian Beltre is 8-20 with two doubles and two home runs against Jimenez.
Surprisingly, the Orioles are one of the better teams at hitting lefties in the AL, with a fourth-best OPS as part of a slash line .268/.324/.431.
Chris Davis playing third base - what could possibly go wrong?