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Game Notes: Can We Please Get Some Run Support?

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Nathan Karns faces Miguel Gonzalez at Camden Yards

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

In the last five games, the Tampa Bay Rays' starting rotation has posted a 2.83 ERA, allowing only 10 earned runs in 32 combined innings of work. If you exclude Erasmo Ramirez's six inning performance against the Oakland Athletics last Saturday, in which he allowed five earned runs, the starting rotation's five game ERA stands at a paltry 1.73.

These impressive performances by the pitching staff was all for naught as the Rays, losers of five straight games, were unable to generate run support, continuing a season long trend of good pitching and poor hitting.

Although the Rays have only allowed 172 runs this season (sixth fewest in all of baseball), they have only scored 179 runs (seventh fewest in all of baseball). With a run differential of plus seven, it's pretty difficult to have a record much better than .500.

If the Rays hope to put some runs on the board in tonight's game against the Baltimore Orioles, they better hope that the third time's the charm against pitcher Miguel Gonzalez. In two prior starts against the Rays this season, Gonzalez has silenced their bats, allowing only one earned run in 13.1 innings of work.

The Rays will send Nathan Karns to the mound for the 7:05 start time at Camden Yards.

Today's Lineups

TAMPA BAY RAYS BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Kevin Kiermaier - CF Manny Machado - 3B
Joey Butler - DH Travis Snider - RF
Evan Longoria - 3B Jimmy Paredes - DH
David DeJesus - LF Adam Jones - CF
Logan Forsythe - 2B Chris Davis - 1B
Steven Souza - RF J.J. Hardy - SS
Asdrubal Cabrera - SS David Lough - LF
Jake Elmore - 1B Caleb Joseph - C
Rene Rivera - C Ryan Flaherty - 2B
Nate Karns - RHP Miguel Gonzalez - RHP

-- Karns will be facing the Orioles for the third time this season. In his first start of the season on April 7, Karns allowed six earned runs on five and a third innings of work. On May 3, Karns didn't allow a run in five innings. He was pulled after 66 pitches.

The Book on Miguel Gonzalez

2015 statistics: 5-3, 3.83 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 4.22 xFIP

The Orioles have seemingly transformed Gonzalez, a 2004 Anaheim Angel draft pick, into a serviceable starting pitcher. However, traditional statistics make him appear more serviceable than he has actually been. Although the 31-year-old right hander has not recorded an ERA higher than 3.78 in his first three seasons, he has also not recorded a FIP lower than 4.38.

In 2015, Gonzalez has been somewhat of a mixed bag. As previously mentioned, Gonzalez has found success against the Rays. Here are highlights from a May 2 game at the Trop in which Gonzalez allowed zero earned runs and four hits in 7.2 innings of work.

Gonzalez pitches low and away to hitters, helping him induce ground balls on more than 40% of balls put in play. His control, however, isn't great as he allows 3.67 walks per nine innings.

Gonzalez's 2015 arsenal has consisted of five pitches, his most common pitch being a fourseam fastball in the low 90s (thrown 43.27% of the time). He also throws a sinker in the low 90s (15.54%), a slider (16.80%) and splitter (14.96%) in the mid 80s, and a curveball that averages around 77 mph (9.09%)

He throws his slider twice as often to right handed batters and he throws his splitter almost three times as often to left handed batters. When facing Gonzalez with a two strikes, left handed hitters face a one in three chance that a splitter will be coming their way.