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Series Preview: Wet Series in the Charm City

Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays had their chances to win the series against the Houston Astros, but they still put up a winning home stand. The Rays go on the road where their record hasn’t been good. They start the road trip facing the Baltimore Orioles.

Matchups:

Monday 7:05 PM: Chris Archer vs Ubaldo Jimenez

Tuesday 7:05 PM: Erasmo Ramirez vs Wade Miley

Wednesday 7:05 PM: Alex Cobb vs Dylan Bundy

Without Chris Tillman the starting pitching is doing enough.

The Orioles starting pitching thus far has been quite good. The Orioles starters have put up a 3.77 ERA and 3.91 FIP over 5.76 innings per start. The Orioles are surviving without Chris Tillman. Eventually they will need their one consistent starter back.

Ubaldo Jimenez has had a rough start to the season. He’s allowed ten runs in 16.1 innings leading to a 5.51 ERA and 5.47 FIP. Last season wasn’t much better as he posted a 5.44 ERA and 4.43 FIP. However his strikeouts have plummeted to 12.5% and he still has a high 9.7% walk rate. Last year Jimenez faced the Rays three times. The Rays tagged him for 4, 4, and 3 runs. However he was able to throw 9.0, 7.0, and 6.0 innings in the three outings.

Wade Miley is a left hander who has spent parts of the last two years with the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. Miley has gotten off to a hot start in 2017. He has a 1.89 ERA and 3.16 FIP. He’s struck out 33.3% of batters while walking 11.1%. His BABIP allowed is sitting at .162. Miley faced the Rays twice last season. His first start came when he was with the Mariners and he allowed four runs in six innings including three homers. Starting for Baltimore he allowed one run in four innings.

Dylan Bundy, the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft, is a pitcher with talent. As a 19 year old he was called up to pitch out of the bullpen in September. He only threw 1.1 major league innings, however, before going under the knife with Tommy John surgery. Without remaining options, last season he was forced on the 25 man roster, splitting his time between the bullpen and starting rotation. Bundy made two starts against the Rays last year, when he was tagged fir nine runs over seven innings. He didn’t make it out of the fourth in either start and allowed five homers.

Orioles Starters vs RHB Last 3+ Years

Name IP K% BB% AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Name IP K% BB% AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Ubaldo Jimenez 235.0 19.6 % 9.8 % 0.263 0.338 0.382 0.319
Wade Miley 451.1 19.9 % 8.1 % 0.273 0.336 0.436 0.336
Dylan Bundy 66.0 25.5 % 9.3 % 0.251 0.331 0.393 0.315

Jimenez doesn’t give up a lot of extra base hits, but he combines a below average strikeout rate with an above average walk rate. Jimenez will give the offense opportunities to score runs they just need to come through with runners in scoring position.

Wade Miley doesn’t fare well against right handed bats. It will be important for Evan Longoria, Steven Souza, Jr., and Rickie Weeks to do work against the left handed pitcher.

Dylan Bundy gets a lot of strikeouts, but also walks his fair share. Last year the Rays did a good job of chasing him from the game early.

Orioles Starters vs LHB Last 3+ Years

Name IP K% BB% AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Name IP K% BB% AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Ubaldo Jimenez 233.0 21.1 % 12.0 % 0.247 0.350 0.424 0.341
Wade Miley 128.2 19.4 % 7.1 % 0.240 0.307 0.383 0.304
Dylan Bundy 70.0 17.7 % 6.7 % 0.253 0.310 0.417 0.311

The big left handed bats in the Rays lineup should have a great opportunity to feast against Ubaldo Jimenez. He allows a lot of extra base hits and walks. If the Rays bats are patient they should have plenty of opportunities.

Wade Miley takes advantage of the lefty vs lefty matchup. He has allowed a much lower batting average to lefties, but still allows an average number of extra bases.

Bundy hasn’t allowed a ton of damage to left handed bats. He also gets fewer strikeouts, but most of the difference is the lower walk rate.

Zach Britton is on the disabled list.

The Rays are still the last to team to force a blown save by Zach Britton, back in September of 2015. They also came close last year when Mikie Mahtook was thrown out at the plate. Without Britton the Baltimore bullpen does provide an opportunity though they do have other good relievers.

Mychal Givens is the only pitcher that has been worked hard in recent days. On Saturday he threw 28 pitches to cover 2 innings. Yesterday they used their weaker bullpen arms after falling behind early to the Red Sox.

Orioles Bullpen vs RHB Last 3+ Years

Name IP K% BB% AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Name IP K% BB% AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Mychal Givens 81.1 34.1 % 8.3 % 0.163 0.250 0.269 0.234
Brad Brach 125.0 33.1 % 9.1 % 0.169 0.247 0.285 0.240
Darren O'Day 110.2 30.4 % 6.2 % 0.190 0.261 0.282 0.246
Donnie Hart 9.0 9.8 % 9.8 % 0.243 0.317 0.324 0.278
Alec Asher 30.1 11.8 % 7.1 % 0.243 0.325 0.414 0.325
Vidal Nuno 228.2 18.7 % 5.9 % 0.273 0.322 0.487 0.348
Stefan Crichton 2.0 22.2 % 0.0 % 0.556 0.556 0.556 0.488

Mychal Givens, Brad Brach, and Darren O’Day are absolutely deadly against right handed bats. If the Rays have to rely on a big hit by a right handed bat against any of those three options it’s likely not going to end well.

If you get to their bullpen early right handed bats might have an opportunity to tack on a few runs.

Orioles Bullpen vs LHB Last

Name IP K% BB% AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Name IP K% BB% AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Donnie Hart 15.0 29.6 % 5.6 % 0.160 0.231 0.213 0.203
Darren O'Day 60.1 26.2 % 9.5 % 0.204 0.290 0.372 0.282
Brad Brach 104.2 20.0 % 10.8 % 0.229 0.314 0.362 0.295
Vidal Nuno 86.2 23.7 % 6.6 % 0.220 0.284 0.362 0.283
Mychal Givens 32.1 23.0 % 11.8 % 0.295 0.391 0.454 0.366
Alec Asher 33.2 12.8 % 4.7 % 0.279 0.320 0.474 0.339
Stefan Crichton 1.0 0.0 % 0.0 % 0.667 0.667 1.400 0.768

The Rays left handed bats will need to come through if runs are needed in later innings.

Donnie Hart and Vidal Nuno are the left handed pitchers in the pen. The right handed relievers that are deadly to right handed bats are still good against left handed bats, but aren’t nearly as good.

Without Britton they have a few inexperienced guys in the pen and might be a situation the Rays bats could take advantage of.

Trey Mancini is on fire.

Surprisingly the Orioles haven’t sprinted out to a good start behind their offense. As a team they are only batting .240/.294/.416 and 98 wRC+. They have scored exactly 4.0 runs per game, but own a 12-5 record with a +7 run differential.

Trey Mancini gets the headlines with his five bombs, but Seth Smith has started the season just as well. Jonathan Schoop, Chris Davis, and Adam Jones have started the season hitting well. Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo have started slow.

Orioles Batters vs RHP Last 3+ Years

Name PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Name PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Trey Mancini 19 5.3 % 36.8 % 0.294 0.368 1.000 0.556 274
Manny Machado 1359 7.7 % 17.2 % 0.287 0.344 0.512 0.365 130
Chris Davis 1324 14.3 % 33.1 % 0.229 0.347 0.507 0.363 129
Seth Smith 1289 11.5 % 19.0 % 0.261 0.352 0.452 0.349 125
Hyun Soo Kim 346 9.5 % 14.5 % 0.314 0.384 0.434 0.358 124
Mark Trumbo 1177 7.5 % 24.6 % 0.258 0.314 0.478 0.340 113
Adam Jones 1512 3.8 % 16.9 % 0.271 0.307 0.460 0.330 107
Jonathan Schoop 1087 2.4 % 21.6 % 0.261 0.290 0.467 0.325 103
Welington Castillo 951 6.0 % 24.8 % 0.240 0.296 0.394 0.301 85
J.J. Hardy 1096 4.6 % 18.9 % 0.260 0.294 0.371 0.291 80
Ryan Flaherty 658 8.7 % 24.5 % 0.215 0.289 0.348 0.281 73
Caleb Joseph 531 7.3 % 20.9 % 0.216 0.280 0.334 0.273 67
Craig Gentry 161 7.5 % 21.7 % 0.208 0.277 0.236 0.233 47

Rays pitchers will need to limit damage from Manny Machado and Chris Davis. Seth Smith and Hyun Soo Kim have been very effective platoon bats.

The lineup is pretty deep, but there are spots that Rays pitchers can attack.

Orioles Batters vs LHP Last

Name PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Name PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Trey Mancini 37 2.7 % 27.0 % 0.278 0.297 0.667 0.400 158
Welington Castillo 353 7.9 % 25.8 % 0.272 0.331 0.489 0.352 119
Manny Machado 476 8.8 % 16.6 % 0.276 0.342 0.451 0.340 114
Adam Jones 497 6.0 % 21.3 % 0.274 0.323 0.457 0.336 112
Chris Davis 606 8.3 % 30.7 % 0.231 0.305 0.429 0.321 101
Mark Trumbo 467 6.6 % 25.5 % 0.237 0.289 0.449 0.315 97
Seth Smith 153 12.4 % 22.2 % 0.206 0.316 0.305 0.283 80
Craig Gentry 222 7.2 % 18.5 % 0.223 0.297 0.289 0.268 71
J.J. Hardy 408 6.4 % 16.7 % 0.232 0.279 0.340 0.272 67
Ryan Flaherty 136 5.9 % 27.9 % 0.197 0.267 0.336 0.269 65
Jonathan Schoop 426 4.7 % 26.5 % 0.226 0.268 0.338 0.267 63
Caleb Joseph 255 4.7 % 23.5 % 0.203 0.246 0.350 0.261 60
Hyun Soo Kim 24 16.7 % 16.7 % 0.053 0.250 0.053 0.182 3

This chart has very little use with the Orioles avoiding Blake Snell and the Rays not having a left handed reliever in the bullpen.

Despite the abundance of right handed bats they really struggled as a group against left handed pitchers last year.

Avoid The Rain

Perhaps the biggest question right now is whether any games can be played at all, as the forecast calls for extended rain. The teams share an off day on Thursday, but I really hope one of the opening games get pushed to Thursday. After Thursday the Rays will be faced with 20 days of games in a row. The team could really use a couple days off during this brutal stretch.

With Zach Britton and Chris Tillman on the disabled list it’s as good a time as ever to get these games in and get good results.

As the Rays head on the road, they look to post better results in this trip than they did in their first. Continue to stay afloat while the team gets healthy and the Rays could put themselves in position for a fun summer.