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Series Preview: Orioles vs. Twins, 29 Aug. - 1 Sept.

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The Orioles shook off a sweep at the hands of the Cubs with a series win vs. Tampa. They'll look to continue the winning ways in a four game Labor Day series against the Twins. See YOU at the Yard.

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High fives for the series win vs. Tampa!
High fives for the series win vs. Tampa!
Patrick Smith
Friday, 29 August (7:05pm) - Miguel Gonzalez vs. Trevor May
2014 Stats Gonzalez (6-7)
May (0-3)
IP 120.0 14.1
ERA 3.75 8.79
FIP 5.25 4.88
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .268/.336/.464 .387/.493/.452

Game notes: Gonzalez held the Cubs to two runs over 6.1 innings, but he was still charged with the loss.  Five of Miguel's seven losses have come in games where he has allowed three or fewer earned runs.  Five of his six wins have come the same way.

A reason to watch: The magic number is 24.  Normally, I'd cue up Jack Bauer saying "WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME," but really, it's the other guys that are running out of time to catch the Orioles.  Time to continue those winning ways, O's.

Scouting report: Trevor May is a former fourth round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies.  He came over to the Twins along with Vance Worley in a deal that sent OF Ben Revere to the NL.  May went 8-6 with a 2.84 ERA in 18 AAA starts this season.  He's currently 0-3 in 4 MLB appearances.  Fairly standard fastball, change, curve, slider arsenal.  Control has been an issue so far, as has a "death by paper cuts."  May has given up 24 hits in his 14 innings, just 4 for extra bases.

Saturday, 30 August (7:05pm) - Chris Tillman vs. Kyle Gibson
2014 Stats Tillman (11-5)
Gibson (11-10)
IP 171.2 144.0
ERA 3.41 4.31
FIP 4.12 3.75
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .231/.294/.365 .255/.311/.362

Game notes: There's some speculation that Tillman is nursing a nagging injury, as he's gotten some extra rest (and based on some comments from Buck), but whatever it might be, it hasn't seemed to affect his performance.  In his last two starts, he's racked up 15 innings with just one ER allowed.  His last start, in particular, was huge, as it helped the O's recover from a sweep at the hands of the Chicago Cubs.

A reason to watch: Not really a reason to watch, but your fun fact of the day involves the height of your starters for this game.  If you thought Tillman was tall at 6'5, Gibson is even taller at 6'6.

Scouting report: Gibson is in his second season (first full) for the Twins.  His 51 inning debut last season was pretty rocky, but he's been fairly solid this season (3.75 FIP, 2.2 WAR).  He's not a swing and miss guy, but he is generating grounders at a 54% clip.  Throws a fastball (usually a two seam), slider, and change.  Does toss the curveball on occasion, but it's a rarity.

Sunday, 31 August 1:35pm) - Wei-Yin Chen vs. Ricky Nolasco
2014 Stats Chen (13-4)
Nolasco (5-9)
IP 148.1 123.1
ERA 3.76 5.62
FIP 4.13 4.34
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .272/.307/.445 .319/.359/.520

Game notes: Chen will return from his random GCL option to start Sunday's game.  He continues to pace the Orioles with 13 wins (good for top 20 in the league, although the 13 win plateau is crowded).  Chen's control has been the best of his career and a personal best for WAR is not out of the question (he put up 2.1 WAR in 192 innings his rookie season).

A reason to watch: The Twins are the last AL opponent outside of the East division the Orioles will face this season.  They have one more series against the Cincinnati Reds, but the remainder of the season will consist of division matchups.  Padding the division lead wouldn't be such a bad idea before that stretch.

Scouting report: This season has been a struggle, to say the least, for Nolasco.  After putting up a variety of 2+ (and 3+) WAR seasons, he's yet to reach 1.0 for the Twins this year.  He's been battered around for the most part, but is coming off an excellent seven innings against the Kansas City Royals.  Will usually throw some form of fastball (two-seam, four-seam, splitter) and generally combines that with a slider.  The two-seam/slider combo is usually his best (and his go-to), but it's been an issue this season.

Monday, 1 September (1:35pm) - Kevin Gausman vs. Phil Hughes
2014 Stats Gausman (7-6)
Hughes (14-9)
IP 82.0 172.2
ERA 3.84 3.70
FIP 3.58 2.59
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .273/.332/.383 .277/.293/.392

Game notes: Gausman's recent starts haven't been terrible simply by the box score, but he's been terribly inefficient.  He's gone 6 or more innings in just two of his last five starts. With Ubaldo Jimenez hanging around, now is probably a good time to get back to those winning ways.

A reason to watch: Might be a reason not to watch.....the Orioles are just 19-25 in day games this season.

Scouting report: While Nolasco has struggled in the Twin Cities, Phil Hughes has been quite the opposite.  He wasn't great last season for the New York Yankees, but has thrived upon arrival in Minnesota, putting up 5.2 WAR and a career-best 2.59 FIP.  He's also 9-1 in day games (although has pitched slightly better a night).  Hughes has one start against the Orioles this season (back in May) and allowed just 2 runs in 6+ innings.

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Baseball league for tonight's MLB games. It's $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Jump in now. Here's the FanDuel link.