Whenever the Orioles win a game, it's nice. Winning sure beats losing. But with the way their divisional competitors keep winning games as well, it lessens the impact. The O's only have to slip up a couple of times, then if their rivals keep winning, they'll no longer be in first place. Their lead is a bare 2.5 games at this time. They beat the Angels when Jered Weaver started, so what? Now they need to win again, only this time it's Garrett Richards. There is no time for rest.
If you're wondering whether I've gotten used to rooting for a good team yet, the answer is no.
RHP Garrett Richards, Angels
2014: 21 GS, 137.1 IP, 2.62 ERA, 139 SO, 46 BB, .196 BAA, 1.05 WHIP
Last start (vs. Tigers): 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO
Let's be honest here, a pitcher with a .196 batting average against is having one heck of a season. That's crazy. Worse for the Orioles, Richards has been even better on the road than at home, with a 1.83 road ERA.
In contrast to the junkballing Weaver from last night, Richards fires in a fastball that averages 96.3mph. That's bringing the heat, for real. Add in an 86mph slider and what do you get? A guy who strikes out one in four batters, apparently. Strikeouts are fascist, I know because I heard it in a movie, but they're also brutally efficient, and they'll probably destroy the Orioles tonight.
RHP Kevin Gausman, Orioles
2014: 9 GS, 49 IP, 3.67 ERA, 35 SO, 18 BB, .270 BAA, 1.41 WHIP
Last start (at Mariners): 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO
Opposite Richards is Gausman's home ERA of 4.33. I guess he hasn't quite gotten the hang of pitching in Camden Yards yet, or else those were just the nights where he was struggling for unrelated reasons. Who knows? What matters is if he'll be any good tonight, and, if he is good, whether that'll even be good enough to get be ahead of Richards and a top notch Angels bullpen.
|LOS ANGELES ANGELS||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Kole Calhoun - RF||Nick Markakis - RF|
|Mike Trout - CF||Manny Machado - 3B|
|Albert Pujols - 1B||Adam Jones - CF|
|Josh Hamilton - LF||Nelson Cruz - DH|
|Erick Aybar - SS||Steve Pearce - 1B|
|Howie Kendrick - 2B||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|C.J. Cron - DH||David Lough - LF|
|David Freese - 3B||Ryan Flaherty - 2B|
|Chris Iannetta - C||Caleb Joseph - C|
|Garrett Richards - RHP||Kevin Gausman - RHP|
No Chris Davis for the second straight night. He was sent home on Tuesday due to an illness, which seems to have persisted into today. This is less of a lament than it would have been last year, because honestly, the dude has a batting average below the Mendoza Line. There's no way to make that look pretty. Not that it makes you feel better with Steve Pearce in the lineup now that he's crashed back down to earth.