There was big news today in Birdland; the Orioles sent prospect Eduardo Rodriguez to Boston in exchange for left-handed relief pitcher Andrew Miller. He will strengthen the back end of the Oriole bullpen as he was the top reliever on the market. CC's Mark Brown wrote about this as the deal was unfolding.
But we also have a game to play. This is a sweep we are talking about. A relief pitcher is nice but three wins over a big club like Anaheim is huge. Let's go.
RHP Bud Norris, Baltimore
2014 stats: 17 G, 8-7, 3.94 ERA, 102.2 IP, 93 H, 12 HR, 34 BB, 76 SO, .243 BAA, 1.24 WHIP
Last start (@ Seattle): 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 6 SO, L
Career vs. Angels: 5 G, 4-0, 0.52 ERA, 34.2 IP, 28 H, .224 BAA, 1.07 WHIP
It seems fitting that Bud makes the start today. A year ago, he was the major get for a Baltimore team that was trying to stretch it's roster and make a playoff push. There wasn't as major of a move this July but 365 days later, Norris is playing out his value in a big way.
This Angel team has been Norris' favorite to face through his entire career. He has the lowest ERA against them over any other outfit in the league. Let us not forget just a week and a half ago; the crotch grab seen 'round the world. He went through the lineup like butter.
Maybe it's the home cooking. Norris went to high school a few hours north of the Angels stadium. He will have to find a way to do it in the cozy confines of Oriole Park today. Something he has not had a problem with thus far in 2014. He is 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 44.2 innings pitched in Baltimore this year.
LHP Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles
2014 stats: 17 G, 5-5, 4.49 ERA, 108.1 IP, 107 H, 9 HR, 28 BB, 79 SO, .262 BA, 1.25 WHIP
Last start (vs. Detroit): 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 SO, ND
Career vs. Baltimore: never faced them
Here is another guy that was traded last year. However, he was sent from the desert of Arizona to the city of Angels in December. He was a part of the big trade that landed Mark Trumbo as a Diamondback. Skaggs was, according to Baseball America, the D-backs top prospect after the 2012 season.
This season he has become a groundball pitcher; over half of batted balls against him are on the ground. Going with that, he has done well to limit the home runs, allowing less than one per nine innings thrown. That is a tough combination for the Orioles, a home run hitting team.
At the same time, he doesn't strike out too many; between six and seven every nine innings. No matter who is on the mound, Baltimore seems to swing and miss a lot.
Skaggs was good his last time out, but in his three starts before that he threw 18.1 innings, allowing 14 runs on 26 hits, two walks and ten strikeouts.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
|RF Kole Calhoun (L)||2-for-4, .500 BA|
|CF Mike Trout (R)||5-for-16, .313 BA, 3 2B, 1 BB, 5 SO|
|1B Albert Pujols (R)||7-for-39, .179 BA, 3 2B, 6 BB, 5 SO|
|LF Josh Hamilton (L)||6-for-15, .400 BA, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 SO|
|SS Erick Aybar (S)||2-for-9, .222 BA|
|2B Howie Kendrick (R)||2-for-14, .143 BA, 1 2B, 1 BB, 3 SO|
|DH Efren Navarro (L)||0-for-3, .000 BA|
|3B David Freese (R)||8-for-10, .400 BA, 2 2B, 3 BB, 8 SO|
|C Chris Iannetta (R)||2-for-7, .286 BA|
Norris has dominated Anaheim and those numbers largely back that up apart from Hamilton and Trout. But man oh man, Pujols cannot tough the Orioles starter. Interesting stuff.
Experience against Norris on the bench: Hank Conger (3-for-8, 1 SO), C.J. Cron (none), J.B. Shuck (0-for-7, 1 BB, 1 SO), John McDonald (0-for-3, 3 SO)
|RF Nick Markakis (L)|
|3B Manny Machado (R)|
|CF Adam Jones (R)|
|LF Nelson Cruz (R)|
|DH Delmon Young (R)|
|SS J.J. Hardy (R)|
|1B Steve Pearce (R)|
|C Caleb Joseph (R)|
|2B Jonathan Schoop (R)|
Only two O's have experience against Skaggs. His former NL West rival Nick Hundley saw him twice. He is 0-for-2 with a strikeout and maybe that is why he is on the bench tonight. Nelson Cruz also saw him a few times; 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. However, he plays because he is Nelson Cruz.
Davis is out again, presumably with the flu still. Adam Jones asked him on Twitter the other night "was it coming out both ends?" So, that happened. We all wanna wish Crush a quick recovery, even though the O's have been just fine without him. He will be available off the bench.