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Orioles vs. Phillies: Series Preview

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The Orioles travel to Philly for two games to finish off this interleague series...Phillies hope to avoid more embarrassment.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Story So Far:

Well that escalated quickly. I expected the Orioles to beat the Phillies in two games at home. Prior experience from this season would have lessened the surprise had they lost one or both, but I certainly expected them to win. I did not expect them to outscore the Phillies 23-3 (!!!) over the course of two games and improve their run differential from a respectable +15 to a very good +35. For reference it was at -1 when they started this homestand. That's a swing of 36 runs over eight games. Raising your pythagorean expectation that quickly doesn't really mean much in a practical sense. It's likely they were due for some runs after an offensive slump in May, but this is a good indicator that this team is really turning things around hasn't won 10 of their last 12 because of luck. They're now back to 3rd place in the division and only two games behind the Rays.

There's little to say about the Phillies. I'm sure they're glad to be going home...probably not happy they're bringing the Orioles with them.

Pitching Matchups

Wednesday: Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Kevin Correia

2015

W/L

IP

ERA+

FIP

WHIP

SO/W

Jimenez

4-3

67.2

123

3.50

1.286

2.75

Correia

0-0

5.2

-

2.22

1.059

4.00

Ubaldo Jimenez got his first win since May 11 in his last start against the Yankees. It wasn't a bad start, but not a great one either. He's only gone seven innings once in his last five starts. The important thing with him I suppose is that he's limiting walks, which plagued him last season. He's only had three starts all season where he allowed more walks than strikeouts. His 3.19 ERA is the highest its been all season but is still decent. It would be a good sign if he can turn in a stronger performance than he's has recently.

Correia has only pitched in one game for the Phillies this season, a start that only lasted 5.2 innings with no earned runs. Much too small a sample to tell how well he'll do on Wednesday though I'm not worried. He has a career ERA of 4.57 over 13 seasons where he's pitched for six different teams - not great. Maybe surprisingly the Oriole with the best record against him is David Lough, who's 7 for 11 with three doubles.

Thursday: Bud Norris vs. Sean O'Sullivan

2015

W/L

IP

ERA+

FIP

WHIP

SO/W

Norris

2-4

38.0

47

4.66

1.711

2.00

O’Sullivan

1-5

51.1

75

5.77

1.461

1.33

So I mean...yeah. I didn't think I'd find someone with numbers worse than Norris', but some of O'Sullian's are. Since coming off the DL, Norris is 1-0 and the O's have won both games he's pitched. He gave up four earned runs in his last start against the Yankees, but in his two starts off the DL he's recorded 12 strikeouts and only two walks. He hasn't gone six innings yet though, so I think a simple quality start would be a good performance for him. His biggest worry will be Ryan Howard, who's hitting .300 off him in his career including a home run.

O'Sullivan hasn't gotten a win since May 17th. That was also the last time he didn't allow an earned run and he hasn't gone more than six innings all season. His SO/W ratio is abysmal. Interestingly, the Oriole with the best recordagainst him is the newest addition to the team. Chris Parmelee is 2 for 3 with a home run.

Other Notes:

-  While both Jimenez and Norris would do well to go deep into the game to help show they're not in some kind of decline, it could be hard in an NL park where Buck may be looking to pinch hit for them early on. Of course, if the Orioles start scoring multiple runs in early innings again they could get their chance. And there's the fact that these are the two guys who have NL experience and have batted the most. Should be interesting.

- Citizens Bank Park has the 4th highest HR factor per ESPN in all of MLB, so there's a chance the Orioles offense will continue to do well on the long ball - especially against those pitchers.

- Four games against the Phillies and the Orioles are still going to miss having to face Cole Hamels?They don't seem to need the extra assistance winning these games, but I'll take it.

- The Orioles are 13-8 all time at Philly, including a three game sweep the last time they were there in 2009.

Prediction:

I think two more wins is very possible, but I'll hedge a little bit and say they split the games, 1-1.

All stats taken from Baseball Reference