Last night the Orioles were shutdown by Kendall Graveman, who to that point in the season hadn't found much success. Tonight they face someone named Zach Neal, a 27-year-old rookie who has appeared in 11 games this season, 10 out of the bullpen. If that sounds to you like a recipe for disaster for the Orioles, then you're not alone.
The good news, if you're looking for it, is that Neal is right handed. On the other hand, his fastball velocity averages a tick below 90. He doesn't strike batters out, nor does he walk many. He pitches to contact and his brief major league career has a 53% ground ball rate.
So...make of that what you will. It sounds like a guy the Orioles should dominate, but who they probably will not. I try not to be pessimistic (I leave that to Mark) but this does feel like a disturbing pattern that I have trouble ignoring. There is also the fact that the Orioles tend to play like poop on the west coast, which brings me to this:
A stat from today's Mid-Atlantic Sports Report on MASN: Orioles have lost 10 straight road games vs AL West teams.— Steve Melewski (@masnSteve) August 9, 2016
In the words of Jim Hunter: they're due?
Here are your lineups:
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||OAKLAND A'S|
|Adam Jones - CF||Marcus Semien - SS|
|Hyun Soo Kim - LF||Jake Smolinski - CF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Danny Valencia - 1B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Khris Davis - LF|
|Mark Trumbo - RF||Billy Butler - DH|
|Pedro Alvarez - DH||Stephen Vogt - C|
|Matt Wieters - C||Brett Eibner - RF|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Ryon Healy - 3B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Tyler Ladendorf - 2B|
|Wade Miley - LHP||Zach Neal - RHP|