When you top a division foe, why have too many moving parts? At least, that must be what manager Buck Showalter felt when filling out tonight's lineup card. The boss has made one minor tweak with Caleb Joseph now behind the plate.
LHP Wei-Yin Chen, Baltimore
2014 stats: 24 G, 13-4, 3.76 ERA, 143.2 IP, 151 H, 21 HR, 25 BB, 109 SO, .269 BAA, 1.23 WHIP
Last start (@ ChiSox): 7.1 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 7 SO, 3 ER, W
Career against Tampa Bay: 11 G, 3-4, 3.51 ERA, 66.2 IP, 65 H, 10 HR, 20 BB, 45 SO
Chen earned his first win in nearly three weeks his last time out against the White Sox. Tonight, he will face the club he has pitched against more than any other team in baseball. In those chances, he has done well to hold his own.
As with pretty much every other team in baseball, he allows too many home runs to the Rays. Against Chen, the Rays hit 1.35 home runs per nine innings. Pretty stellar for a club that currently ranks 24th in baseball in round-trippers hit this season.
The last time the southpaw saw Tampa was on June 28. He only made it through 3.1 innings after giving up five runs on two walks and seven hits, including three long balls, but all statistics have outliers. Here's to hoping that is exactly what that outing was.
RHP Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay
2014 stats: 20 G, 9-6, 3.01 ERA, 122.2 IP, 106 H, 9 HR, 35 BB, 116 SO, .232 BAA, 1.15 WHIP
Last start (vs. Detroit): 7.0 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0 ER, W
Career against Baltimore: 6 G, 4-1, 1.89 ERA, 38.0 IP, 29 H, 2 HR, 14 BB, 39 SO
Can we all take a moment to admire the job that Tampa Bay does with developing pitching; thank you. If you are on this site, you are familiar with the pitching of Cobb. But come on, the guy was a fourth round pick and never ranked higher than 14th in the Rays prospect depth chart, yet he is an absolute force on the mound.
In his last three outings he has pitched 20.1 innings and allowed just one run on 14 hits while striking out 20. He didn't even face the Orioles, a team he has dominated, in that span.
The righty has seen the Birds twice this season, each having very different results. Back on June 18 he tossed seven innings of one run ball but was saddled with the hard luck loss. Eleven days later he would make it just five innings, give up four runs (three earned) on eight hits, but earn the win. Sometimes, baseball doesn't make sense.
Tampa Bay Rays (w/ career stats against Chen)
|CF Desmond Jennings (R)||5-for-25, .200 BA, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 BB, 1 SO|
|LF Ben Zobrist (S)||11-for-30, .367 BA, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 BB, 6 SO|
|2B Logan Forsythe (R)||3-for-8, .375 BA, 1 HR, 1 SO|
|DH Evan Longoria (R)||4-for-18, .222 BA, 1 2B, 3 BB, 4 SO|
|RF Wil Myers (R)||1-for-7, .143 BA, 1 BB, 2 SO|
|SS Yunel Escobar (R)||2-for-15, .133 BA, 1 2B, 1 HR|
|1B James Loney (L)||3-for-8, .375 BA, 2 2B|
|C Ryan Hanigan (R)||1-for-7, .143 BA, 1 HR, 2 SO|
|3B Sean Rodriguez (R)||3-for-19, .158 BA, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 BB, 4 SO|
On the bench: Jose Molina (2-for-5 with a double against Chen), Brandon Guyer (1-for-4), Matt Joyce (1-for-4), Kevin Kiermaier (2-for-5 with a home run)
Of the 13 "fielders" on the Rays roster, seven have hit a home run against Chen. Joe Maddon has gone with a righty-heavy line-up to face the southpaw. In 2014, the Orioles starter has actually done better against those swinging from the right side; a .260 batting average, versus a .280 average for lefties.
Baltimore Orioles (w/ career stats against Cobb)
|RF Nick Markakis (L)||4-for-13, .308 BA, 1 2B, 2 SO|
|1B Steve Pearce (R)||2-for-6, .333 BA, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 SO|
|CF Adam Jones (R)||4-for-19, .211 BA, 1 BB, 5 SO|
|DH Nelson Cruz (R)||2-for-12, .167 BA, 1 SO|
|LF Delmon Young (R)||0-for-2, .000 BA, 1 SO|
|SS J.J. Hardy (R)||5-for-15, .333 BA, 2 BB, 3 SO|
|3B Chris Davis (L)||2-for-12, .167 BA, 1 3B, 3 BB, 4 SO|
|C Caleb Joseph (R)||1-for-2, .500 BA, 1 BB|
|2B Jonathan Schoop||0-for-5, .000 BA, 2 SO|
On the bench: Nick Hundley (1-for-2 against Cobb), David Lough (1-for-2), Ryan Flaherty (1-for-4)
On the DL: Manny Machado (1-for-15 with a home run), Matt Wieters (2-for-7 with a home run)
- Toronto has designated Nolan Reimold for assignment. MASN's Roch Kubatko wonders if a possible return to Baltimore is in the works.
- Bartolo Colon and Scott Feldman have cleared waivers. The Orioles needs seem to have shifted from the rotation to third base, but it is still something to note.
- The Orioles and Rays are currently in a deadlock. The all-time series between the two is stuck at 145 wins apiece. Kubatko joked that Aubrey Huff should throw out the first pitch.