Last night's feature at Rogers Centre didn't go as planned. The Orioles entered the game on fire, facing a struggling pitcher. If Hollywood were writing this picture, the Orioles would have steamrolled over Drew Hutchison. But this is real life and it smacks you in the face sometimes. So, instead the Blue Jays gave the proverbial smack down. Let's hope fortunes change.
LHP J.A. Happ, Toronto
2014 stats: 20 G, 16 S, 8-5, 4.25 ERA, 95.1 IP, 11 HR, 38 BB, 77 SO, .270 BAA, 1.45 WHIP
Last start (@ Houston): 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 SO, ND
Career vs. Baltimore: 5 G, 4 S, 1-1, 2.45 ERA, 25.2 IP, 1 HR, 10 BB, 28 SO
It seemed not so long ago that Happ was the subject of rampant trade talks that involved the Phillies trying to get their hands on some of the best pitchers in baseball. He ended up being sent to Houston in a package for Roy Oswalt.
His artillery is made up of four pitches: a fastball at 92-93 m.p.h, a slider between 82-84 m.p.h, a high seventies curveball and a mid-eighties change.
He will call on the Orioles to be patient. He walks nearly four per nine innings. It is something the Orioles did well just two nights ago, working eight walks. However, it is not something they are known for.
RHP Miguel Gonzalez, Baltimore
2014 stats: 19 G, 18 S, 5-6, 3.93 ERA, 107.2 IP, 19 HR, 39 BB, 76 SO, .274 BAA, 1.43 WHIP
Last start (vs. Seattle): 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 1 SO, L
Career vs. Toronto: 9 G, 8 S, 4-2, 3.02 ERA, 53.2 IP, 6 HR, 13 BB, 40 SO
Miggy had a really good July, but he took a step back as soon as the calendar flipped to August. Not a good sign as it came against the Mariners; the fifth lowest scoring team in baseball. The problem was his inability to keep the ball in the park as he allowed two home runs last time out.
The way he pitches always seems to be on the tip of implosion. There are times when he seems unable to miss any bats and he gets lucky on the balls put in play. It is reflected in some of his metrics. While his ERA is respectable, just under four, his xFIP and FIP are creeping into dangerous territory at 4.66 and 5.30, respectively.
He is allowing the most home runs of his three year career and has been the victim of at least one long ball in seven of his last eight outings. Expect that trend to continue against one of the top home run hitting clubs in baseball.
Orioles (w/ career numbers against Happ)
|RF Nick Markakis (L)||4-for-13, .308 BA, 1 2B, 4 SO|
|3B Manny Machado (R)||2-for-9, .222 BA, 1 3B, 4 SO|
|CF Adam Jones (R)||6-for-13, .462 BA, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 SO|
|LF Nelson Cruz (R)||4-for-5, .800, 1 SO|
|DH Delmon Young||2-for-10, .200 BA, 2 SO|
|SS J.J. Hardy (R)||2-for-9, .222 BA, 2 2B, 2 BB|
|1B Chris Davis (L)||0-for-3, .000 BA, 1 SO|
|C Caleb Joseph (R)||none|
|2B Jonathan Schoop (R)||1-for-3, .333 BA, 1 BB, 2 SO|
Davis moves back down to seventh and Young is plugged back into the lineup. Buck is not as rigid as he once seemed to be. Of course, Jones has awesome numbers against Happ because 2014 is AJ's year to crush southpaws.
On the bench: Nick Hundley (3-for-9 with a walk and three strikeouts), Steve Pearce (3-for-12 with a double and walk), Ryan Flaherty (0-for-1 with a walk), and David Lough (0-for-1)
Blue Jays (w/ career numbers against Gonzalez)
|SS Jose Reyes (S)||0-for-9, .000 BA, 2 SO|
|DH Melky Cabrera (S)||1-for-10, .100 BA, 1 3B, 2 BB, 1 SO|
|RF Jose Bautista (R)||3-for-11, .273 BA, 1 2B, 2 BB, 3 SO|
|C Dioner Navarro (S)||none|
|1B Juan Francisco (L)||1-for-3, .333 BA, 1 3B|
|3B Danny Valencia (R)||none|
|CF Colby Rasmus (L)||1-for-14, .071 BA, 1 2B, 1 BB, 8 SO|
|2B Ryan Goins (L)||1-for-7,.143 BA, 1 2B, 1 SO|
|LF Anthony Gose (L)||3-for-11, .273 BA, 1 3B, 1 SO|
Oh, Brett Lawrie we hardly knew ye. After half a game back off the DL, Lawrie has been placed right back on it with a strained oblique he suffered on Tuesday night. He has been replaced by left-handed pitcher Rob Rasmussen.
It is surprising that no one, not even Bautista, in tonight's lineup has ever hit a homer off of Gonzalez. But it makes sense with Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind laid up.
On the bench: Josh Thole (1-for-2 with a double and a strikeout), Munenori Kawasaki (2-for-9 with two walks and a strikeout), Nolan Reimold (none).