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Orioles vs. Tigers: Series Preview

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After sweeping the Braves, the Orioles host the Tigers for a four game series in Baltimore

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Story So Far:

I give up. Who knows what this team is going to do next. Good luck trying to predict the rest of the season. Getting swept out of New York wrapped up a 5-14 stretch for the Orioles. It also pushed them to seven games back in the division. Since then though they've gone 5-1. While they haven't gained any real ground in the division because the Yankees also keep winning, they are within one game of a wild card spot. With the (non-waiver) trade deadline this week, I think its safe to say these guys will not be sellers. Buyers? Maybe not. But definitely not sellers either.

The Tigers though are another story. Even after beating the Rays on Wednesday, reports were they're going to be sellers. It's very possible this team will look very different by the time they leave Baltimore. That might not be a bad strategy - they're 49-52 and 12.5 games behind the Royals in their division. Miguel Cabrera is still hurt, Justin Verlander has not been good...it's kind of falling apart and this team is very close to becoming the Phillies. For the record, the O's may want to talk to them about Yoenis Cespedes.

Pitching Matchups:

Thursday: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Alfredo Simon

2015

W/L

IP

ERA+

FIP

WHIP

SO/W

Gonzalez

9-6

106.0

98

4.85

1.226

2.50

Simon

9-6

111.0

88

3.96

1.459

2.10

Friday: Wei-Yin Chen vs. Buck Farmer

2015

W/L

IP

ERA+

FIP

WHIP

SO/W

Chen

5-6

121.2

135

4.26

1.126

3.69

Farmer

0-2

13.2

44

6.22

1.902

3.00

Saturday: Kevin Gausman vs. TBD

2015

W/L

IP

ERA+

FIP

WHIP

SO/W

Gausman

1-2

40.2

93

4.03

1.230

2.83

Sunday: Ubaldo Jimenez vs. TBD

2015

W/L

IP

ERA+

FIP

WHIP

SO/W

Jimenez

8-6

113.1

105

3.80

1.332

2.84

Instead of writing about each individual matchup this time, I'm just going to put down all my thoughts about these in one place. I need to change it up every now and then. Anyways...

- Dude's name is Buck Farmer. That's amazing. I don't know why, but when I read that I laughed. Great name. Those stats though - ouch. Those might be some of the worst I've seen all season.

- Orioles starters have been pretty great recently. That Braves series in particular was pretty incredible, but even going back to the Rays series those guys looked a lot better. And in a strange twist of events, the offense has actually been playing well too. It hasn't worked that way many times this season, let's see how long this stretch lasts.

- Previewing a four games series can be tough because the fourth starters for them are not always announced, but in this case the Tigers may really not know who they're putting out there. As I mentioned above, the Tigers are looking to sell and one of their biggest prizes may be David Price. There's a good chance he'll be gone by Saturday, so he's out. Justin Verlander just pitched on Wednesday, so he's likely out. Shane Greene just got moved to the bullpen. Kyle Lobstein is on the 15-day DL...it's a problem. To be fair, the Orioles haven't announced all of their starters either, but I'm putting Gausman and Jimenez in because it's their turn in the rotation and I know this team. Maybe someone at Bless You Boys knows the answer for them.

- Since the Orioles and Tigers just played a couple weeks ago, those results may be good in predicting this series. Well, Jimenez took the loss in the first game, but Tillman and Gonzalez beat Price and Verlander to win games two and three. That was one of a few bad starts for Jimenez that certainly had me worried about where his season was headed, but he did pretty well against the Braves - let's hope those games were just a bad stretch for him that's over now.

Other Notes:

- Even without Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers have a tough lineup the Orioles should worry about. J.D Martinez has 27 home runs. Jose Iglesias is hitting .314...Cespedes may not make it through the whole series, but he's got an OPS+ of .821. These guys are third in the AL in runs per game - make no mistake, their offense has not been the problem this year.

- Currently the Orioles hottest bat is...J.J. Hardy? Yep, Hardy has hit safely in every game since the All-Star break, and two of those games have included home runs. That's only six homers on the year, and even though it means he'll probably beat the nine he had last year, I don't think he's hitting 20+ like he did in 2007, -08,-11,-12,-13. Those days are probably gone. But the Orioles didn't give Hardy an extension for his bat, they gave him one for his glove, and he still does that pretty well. His Def rating on Fangraphs is 9.5, good for 8th in MLB. I'll take it.

- I could be wrong, but I don't think we've seen any roster moves since Steve Pearce went on the DL to make way for Kevin Gausman. That means it's been more than a week, which could be a record for this season. And after reports that Pearce won't be ready when his time's up, it may be a little while before we see any more.

- The Orioles have won five in a row. They won six in a row earlier this season. Can we get to seven? Please? After Tillman was denied his chance at a 'Maddux' on Wednesday, I'm starting to think we can't have nice things. The Orioles haven't won seven in a row since 2005. Is it really asking too much?

Prediction:

A four game series in Baltimore against a team that's about to trade away its best players who aren't on the DL that the Orioles just took two of three from a couple weeks ago (and swept in three games in last year's playoffs)? I have to pick them to three of four right? Yeah, I do. And I hate myself for doing it.