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Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, July 21-23 2014

The Orioles arrive in Anaheim with a 1-2 record on their West Coast road trip thus far. Can they leave at 3-3 (or better)?

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Jason O. Watson
Monday, June 21, 10:05 ET: Bud Norris @ Matt Shoemaker
Norris Shoemaker
Stat 2013 YTD 2013 YTD
IP 176.2 91.0 5.0 63.2
ERA 4.18 3.96 0.00 4.38
FIP 3.86 4.75 2.25 3.79
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .277/.339/.415 .237/.313/.401 .118/.211/.118 .281/.321/.462

Norris will be making just his second major-league start since June 21, after which he was placed on the disabled list, returned for one start against the Nationals, and was sent to the minors over the All-Star Break because Dan Duquette is a roster-manipulating madman. I must make a confession: after I pointed out that he'd managed at least five innings in every start this year, he lasted for only four innings in that last start. Mea culpa.

Shoemaker made his major league debut last year, a five-inning scoreless start, before starting this season in the Angels' bullpen. After making a few relief appearances, he was sent to the minors for a month to get stretched back out, and has mostly been a starter since then. Shoemaker has five pitches: four-seam fastball, sinker, slider, curve, and splitter. Righties see more four-seamers than lefties, but both see fastballs roughly half of the time. Shoemaker's splitter is his main out pitch against both righties and lefties, but as a changeup-like offering, he uses it more often against lefties when not ahead in the count. He'll throw righties sliders in any count and occasionally drop in a show-me curveball.

Maybe hot: David Freese (.950 OPS, 20 PA)

Likely not: Albert Pujols (.570 OPS, 41 PA)

Tuesday, July 22, 10:05 ET: Miguel Gonzalez @ Hector Santiago
Gonzalez Santiago
Stat 2013 YTD 2013 YTD
IP 171.1 89.0 149.0 66.2
ERA 3.78 4.04 3.56 4.32
FIP 4.45 5.24 4.44 4.04
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .243/.300/.413 .279/.349/.483 .243/.343/.396 .243/.316/.369

Gonzalez had a pair of eight-inning stints against the Yankees and Red Sox before, like Norris, getting a brief stay in the minors during the All-Star Break. Given that he failed to go six innings in each of his prior three starts, hopefully this is a sign that he's turning things around. Gonzalez has particularly struggled with the long ball this year, surrendering 16 home runs in his 89 innings, or roughly one every 5.5 IP. It's hard to be successful when you give up that many, but whether that rate is poor luck or a new normal, we won't know for some time yet.

Santiago was sent from the White Sox to the Angels in a three-team trade last offseason. While none of his peripherals are outstanding, and his ERA has risen compared to last season, he's slightly increased his strikeout rate and significantly cut his walk rate since leaving Chicago. Santiago is a fastball guy first and foremost, throwing four-seamers 60% of the time or more. Against lefties, his main offspeed offering is a curveball, while against righties, it's a changeup. Brooks Baseball shows him also having a sinker, cutter, and even screwball, but using them very sparingly.

Wednesday, July 23, 10:05 ET: Chris Tillman @ Jered Weaver
Tillman Weaver
Stat 2013 YTD 2013 YTD
IP 206.1 125.0 154.1 131.1
ERA 3.71 4.03 3.27 3.43
FIP 4.42 4.46 3.82 4.12
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .241/.303/.427 .248/.320/.392 .237/.289/.382 .229/.290/.369

Tillman pitched well in a tough loss on Friday, giving up two runs over 6.2 IP and striking out six while only allowing four hits and one walk. While his season strikeout rate still looks bad, it appears he's gone back to getting K's, rather than having that pitch-to-contact stretch through May and June finally come back to bite him.

Weaver's having another solid season for Anaheim, even if his peripherals don't look quite as good as usual, as his walk rate (7.1%) is higher than it's been since 2009 (2010-2013: 5.8%-6.1% each year). He takes a very different approach depending on batter handedness. Against fellow righties, he throws around 40% four-seam fastballs, 10% sinkers, and an even mix of his three offspeed pitches (slider, curve, and changeup). Versus lefties, the four-seamer and sinker swap roles, and the slider nearly disappears, with the curve and change each being thrown a bit more often.

Maybe hot: Adam Jones (1.021 OPS, 18 PA)

Likely not: Chris Davis (.419 OPS, 31 PA)

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