A brief Orioles series preview

Leon Halip

The Rays have returned home, after what was certainly a hell week and taking four of six from division rivals. This week they get to play three more against who is now leading the division: Baltimore.

Yes, the Orioles (15-14) have a 1.5 game lead over the Rays (15-17), and that's the same gap dividing everyone else in the AL East, where all but the Yankees have a differential within seven runs of nil. The Yanks are at -19 thus far, the Orioles at -6, the Rays at -7.

The Orioles strength thus far has been... well... I'm not sure. They have yet to lose one of their starters from the pitching rotation, but consistency has given them a 19th best 2.2 WAR in baseball, tied with the Rays. The Orioles pitching staff also has the ninth highest ERA (4.28) and third highest FIP (4.30). The Rays are seventh and fifteenth, respectively.

From a positional perspective, the Rays have moved up to fourth in WAR (6.6), with a fifth best 109 wRC+, while the Orioles are 23rd in WAR (2.4), with a 93 wRC+ (eighteenth), particularly suffering from a lack of Chris Davis. The slugger has been suffering from an oblique strain and recently took up swinging and throwing again, but isn't eligible to be activated from the disabled list until Sunday.

The best performer on the team is Matt Wieters, with a .406 wOBA and 157 wRC+, which is Adrian Gonzalez production. Also respectable is Nelson Cruz's bat thus far, with a .413 wOBA and 162 wRC+, but his defense is still subtracting value.

Chris Tillman vs Chris Archer

Tonight, the Orioles start their best pitcher from an earned run perspective (87 ERA-), who has been league average thus far (100 FIP-). Tillman works a 92 fourseam and change with ten mile per hour separation, as well as a knuckle curve at 76. The oft used fastball (64.5% frequency) has considerable bite (11" vertical drop), while the change appears to have a more two-seam movement. He mixes both off-speed pitches at 15%, and has a seldom used cutter for flavor -- but seriously, it's all fastball.

Bud Norris vs Cesar Ramos

Hey look, another fourseam guy (58% frequency) with hard bite (10.5" vertical drop), a two-seam looking change. He pumps an 88 slider with 28% use -- with horrible results thus far against right handed batters (4.09 BAA, .455 SLG), and equal uses between hands -- but he's only getting more fastball heavy as time goes by. Situationally, if a left handed batter falls behind to Norris, think slider. The rest guess fastball.

Ubaldo Jimenez vs David Price

Finally we get a bit more variation in pitch selection. The sinker is the favored pitch here at 32% use (and more frequent with the batter agead), but the four seam (24%), slider (22%) and split (18%) each get their turn. And yes, the vertical movement on that fastball is 10.5" as well. I've been hammering this point because it jumped out at me that all three had the same drop. An improvement of 0.5" since joining the club. By comparison, Yu Darvish gets 9.8" vertical movement, and Kershaw gets 12". So color me impressed?

The good news is that the Rays get to look at the same fastball in all three games, and that Ubaldo has struggled with his sinker in the past, so if he's feeding fastballs (as he likes to when he's ahead in the count) the Rays will not be seeing something new.

Go Rays!

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join DRaysBay

You must be a member of DRaysBay to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at DRaysBay. You should read them.

Join DRaysBay

You must be a member of DRaysBay to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at DRaysBay. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker