Cleveland Indians Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles, June 24-June 27

Chris Davis sends another drive deep - Mitchell Layton

The Indians begin an eleven game road trip with a trip to the Crabcake Capital city and the Baltimore Orioles.

This extended road trip opens with a Monday to Thursday four game set in Baltimore with all four games scheduled for 7:05 PM start times. After the game, they head to the Windy City for a doubleheader on Friday and a weekend series with the White Sox before venturing to Minnesota for the first time. [After this series, there will be only six games left against the AL East left, three each at home with the Blue Jays and Orioles]

Team in a Box

Baltimore Orioles

Offense

AL Rank

Pitching

AL Rank

2013 Record

42-34

Runs/Game

4.9

2nd

Runs/Game

4.6

13th

AL East

2nd

OBP

324

7th

H/9

8.8

11th

Last 10

5-5

SLG

455

1st

BB/9

3.0

9th

Last 30

17-13

Steals

53

4th

SO/9

6.9

12th

It is pretty easy to see how the Orioles are doing it this year, hitting. They lead the league in slugging and home runs. They are top five in most other categories. They don't walk much, but they also don't strike out much either. Pitching on the other hand, has not been that good. Their best starter at least stat wise, Wei-Yen Chen, is on the DL and everyone else is league average or worse. The bullpen has two great arms in Tommy Hunter and Darren O'Day, but closer Jim Johnson has been so-so and the middle relief has been mediocre at best. The defense has been very good though, leading the league in fielding percentage and fewest errors, and third in double plays. So to beat the Orioles in this series, there are two options, either have our starters limit their offense to 3-4 runs game, or have our offense light up their starters. Of course a combination of those two works as well.

Projected Lineup

Pos

Player

Bats

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS+

LF

Nate McLouth

L

276

290

372

411

114

3B

Manny Machado

R

345

321

353

481

126

RF

Nick Markakis

L

330

287

339

407

103

CF

Adam Jones

R

327

298

321

511

123

1B

Chris Davis

L

311

336

412

723

202

C

Matt Wieters

S

272

233

288

404

99

SS

JJ Hardy

R

308

271

309

476

111

2B

Ryan Flaherty

L

173

184

250

278

45

DH

Danny Valencia

R

55

275

327

608

148

Wow. Not much to say but wow. There is only one weak spot (Flaherty) in that lineup. Even with Nolan Reimold on the DL, Valencia has been filling in nicely. When and if Machado develops some power he will be really scary, but he is still only 20. It is interesting that Davis is not hitting cleanup, but he has been insanely hot this season. His home run total is the only reason that Miggy Cabrera may not get a back to back triple crown. Wieters has been solid, but not as good as his pres as a highly touted minor leaguer. Hardy is the kind of hitter that usually gives us fits. Luckily they have been mostly healthy because the bench of Chris Dickerson (94 OPS+), Travis Ishikawa (-8), Alexi Casilla (50) and Taylor Teagarden (0) has not been good, not one little bit.

Projected Starters

Date

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

June 24

Zach Britton (Jimenez)

L

5.56

11.1

77

11.9

4.0

2.4

June 25

Chris Tillman (Masterson)

R

3.71

87.1

112

8.6

3.3

7.1

June 26

Jason Hammel (Kazmir)

R

5.30

86.2

78

9.9

3.1

6.3

June 27

Miguel Gonzalez (Kluber)

R

3.75

81.2

111

7.6

3.0

6.5

Britton is a third rounder from 2006. He made one poor start against us in 2011 (5 ER in 6 IP), but pitched six shutout innings last year. He has only made two starts this year after beginning the year in Norfolk. Tillman is a second rounder from 2006 who came over in the Bedard trade with Adam Jones. He also has poor numbers against the Tribe. But that is mainly from two rough appearances back in 2009. He only allowed one run in 6.2 innings last year. Hammel is a tenth rounder from 2002 by the Devil Rays. He came over to the Orioles in the Jeremy Guthrie trade. His numbers have been even worse than the other two, 6.20 ERA in 24.2 innings. The only decent year he had against us was in 2008 when he was in the bullpen. Gonzalez has good numbers, albeit in only two appearances, one of them being a start last year in July. He is minor league free agent signing from 2012.

Key Relievers

Player

Throws

ERA

IP

ERA+

H/9

BB/9

K/9

Jim Johnson

R

3.82

35.1

109

8.2

2.0

6.6

Tommy Hunter

R

2.23

40.1

186

6.5

1.6

7.1

Darren O'Day

R

1.85

34.0

225

6.6

2.4

9.8

Johnson's numbers look bad, but that is mainly on two horrid outings in May. He has three blown saves but five losses as well. But since his last blow-up in Toronto he has only given up one run in 11.1 innings while notching eleven saves. Historically he has been poor against the Tribe, 0-4 in 11 appearances and a 5.84 ERA and 6.6 K/9. Hunter's numbers against Cleveland have also been poor at best, but that was when he was still a starter, 5.40 ERA in 21.2 innings, 5.4 K/9. The switch to the pen has benefited him nicely in 2013. O'Day also has an ERA above 5 against us, 5.87, in only 7.2 innings, and most of that was due to a poor outing against us in his rookie season in 2008 when he was an Angel. Other options include Pedro Strop (R-61 ERA+), Troy Patton (L-99), Brian Matusz (L-99), and Rule 5 Indian TJ McFarland (L-122, although he gave up five in 4.1 on Sunday, so this number is inaccurate).

On the Shelf

  • 3B Wilson Betemit (torn right knee PCL) - 60-day DL, possibly mid-July
  • SP Wei-Yin Chen (strained left oblique) - 15-day DL, possibly early July
  • RP Steve Johnson (strained left oblique) - 15-day DL, possibly late June
  • 1B Steve Pearce (left wrist tendinitis) - 15-day DL, possibly early July
  • LF Nolan Reimold (strained right hamstring) - 15-day DL, on AA rehab
  • 2B Brian Roberts (right hamstring) - 60-day DL, on AAA rehab

When Betemit and Pearce return, they will give the bench a much better bat to choose from. Chen is missed in the rotation. Roberts would hopefully upgrade second base as well, but he is now 35.

Almanac

W

L

Pct

RS

RA

Pythag

2013

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

2012

4

4

500

41

36

559

Last 5

21

15

583

194

182

529

Last 10

39

29

574

389

320

588

All-Time

1115

844

569

9220

8029

563

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