The Orioles find themselves coming off of a sweep, which is good, and also not good. It's good because they've won three games in a row. It's bad because can you imagine them winning four games in a row? They don't do it very often. Nor do most teams. Tonight's challenge is the seven games below .500 Rays.
RHP Alex Cobb, Rays
2014: 22 GS, 133 IP, 2.98 ERA, 128 SO, 39 BB, .233 BAA, 1.17 WHIP
Last start (vs. Red Sox): 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO
Sometimes it seems like the lower a pitcher's ERA, the better the Orioles will do against him, and the higher a pitcher's ERA, the worse the Orioles will do against him. That's not actually true, but it also feels like it's true, which makes it true even when it's not true. Let's move on before a philosophy class breaks out.
The O's have seen Cobb twice this year, touching him up for five runs in only nine innings pitched. Both of those games were in Baltimore, so facing Cobb in the Trop will be a new thing for both sides, at least for this year. Despite the fact that they've done some damage against him this year, the Orioles who have seen him the most basically suck against him completely, including a .418 OPS from Adam Jones and a .429 OPS from Nelson Cruz.
LHP Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles
2014: 26 GS, 155 IP, 3.83 ERA, 116 SO, 28 BB, .270 BAA, 1.25 WHIP
Last start (vs. Twins): 6.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 7 SO
Chen's coming off a respectable August in which he mustered a 3.55 ERA over six starts. He has faced this Rays team four times this season, allowing 11 runs over 21 innings. That's not so good. The last time he faced them in the Trop, he gave up three home runs. The good news is that Chen has pitched much better in the second half, so if that continues, maybe the earlier trend has changed to something new.
Home runs are often the problem for Chen. He's allowed 22 this season. At least he doesn't walk many batters, so they aren't getting free passes before getting home runs. But he does give up a lot of hits; the .270 batting average against is high. The magic that the Orioles defense works with other pitchers does not seem to extend to Chen.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TAMPA BAY RAYS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Ben Zobrist - CF|
|David Lough - LF||Brandon Guyer - LF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Nelson Cruz - DH||Wil Myers - RF|
|Chris Davis - 1B||James Loney - 1B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Yunel Escobar - SS|
|Caleb Joseph - C||Logan Forsythe - 2B|
|Ryan Flaherty - 3B||Ryan Hanigan - C|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Sean Rodriguez - DH|
|Wei-Yin Chen - LHP||Alex Cobb - RHP|
Hey, does anybody remember Steve Pearce?
Steve Pearce will take BP again tomorrow and hopes to be in lineup.— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) September 5, 2014
The writers reported that Pearce also took some batting practice today. The team has gotten along alright without him, but maybe with him they'll get along even better still. Coming off a 9-2 homestand, that would really be something.