Apr 2, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (31) throws in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles – Rough Night for New Birds – Game 3 Preview


 

The Baltimore Orioles ran into a Red Sox team on Wednesday night that looked more like a defending world champion outfit than what they saw on opening day.

Boston starter John Lackey had one of the better games that I have seen him throw in quite a while. His control was excellent and his pitches had good movement, as he gave up only three hits and a walk over six innings. One of those hits was a two-run shot to right field by Nelson Cruz – his second homer in as many days. At the time, it tied the game 2-2, matching an earlier homer by David Ortiz; but Mike Napoli would provide the third such long ball to put the Sox up 4-2. Boston added two more runs in the 7th inning for the final margin.

The two Sox homers accounted for all four runs scored off Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez over six innings – as the new Baltimore pitcher gave up five hits and three walks in his first game. The pitch that Ortiz drilled in the third inning was not the worst, though the shot by Napoli was on an inexplicable 0-2 fastball in the very center of the plate.

Certainly Jimenez will want to avoid pitching behind as many batters as he did this evening. Yet at the same time, one could see the filthy and nasty nature of many of his varied pitches. He did strike out six, and overall I was pleased with what I saw of the potential to harness his stuff and have great success. It was good to see him stretched to six innings and 96 pitches on the evening. So, the result is not what Orioles fans wanted to see, but honestly, his stuff was better than Tillman on Monday, by comparison.

Very much on display on this evening was the patient nature of the Red Sox lineup versus the free-swinging, ball-chasing proclivities of the Orioles. It is no secret that the teams are polar-opposite personalities in this regard; and that is not necessarily to the Birds’ advantage.

Also on display was the quick bat of Dustin Pedroia. He looks like a junior-higher with a fake beard – being the most diminutive player on the field and quite a contrast with Matt Wieters when the Orioles’ catcher stands up. But geez, he can hit a baseball – four singles on this night and 6-for-10 already on the season.

Jimenez was not the only Oriole to have a rough first day at the office. I don’t think David Lough will be pleased with his 0-for-4 evening at the plate and an absolutely terrible throw from left field on Napoli’s two-RBI single in the 7th. Also not enjoying his first outing was Ryan Webb, who gave up three hits and two runs on two-thirds of an inning.

The only thing worse than watching the Orioles lose to the Red Sox is to watch the loss while also working on income tax – talk about losses! This is getting depressing, so let’s move on to game three on Thursday night …

The Orioles will send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound for his first start of 2014. Chen is coming off a 7-7 season in 2013 with a 4.07 ERA over 23 starts. Among the Red Sox hitters, Pedroia particularly wears out Chen with an 11-for-19/.579 average – so maybe the Orioles should just give him first base to economize on the pitch count! David Ortiz has a homer and single in 12 plate appearances.

PA

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

Dustin Pedroia

21

19

11

4

1

0

4

2

1

.579

Jonny Gomes

16

14

3

0

0

1

1

2

5

.214

Will Middlebrooks

16

16

6

1

0

0

0

0

4

.375

David Ortiz

12

10

2

0

0

1

4

1

3

.200

A.J. Pierzynski

12

12

3

2

0

0

2

0

4

.250

Shane Victorino

12

10

4

0

0

1

2

1

1

.400

Mike Napoli

11

10

3

1

0

2

2

1

3

.300

 

The Red Sox will send out Felix Doubront, who is beginning his third year as a rotation starter. In 2013 he was 11-6 with a 4.32 ERA, and pitched well in the playoffs and World Series with a 1.29 over 7 innings.  However, he had a poor spring season, giving up 15 runs in 19 innings.

Here are the stats for the six Orioles who have had the most at bats against Doubront …

PA

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

Adam Jones

18

17

2

0

0

0

0

0

8

.118

Chris Davis

17

15

6

1

0

1

3

0

2

.400

J.J. Hardy

17

15

3

1

0

0

2

2

3

.200

Matt Wieters

17

16

1

0

0

0

1

1

10

.063

Manny Machado

12

10

4

0

0

1

5

1

1

.400

Nick Markakis

11

10

4

0

0

0

0

1

3

.400

 

These games that decide three-game series are the sorts that need to be won by playoff-bound squads. Winning teams are those that capture series as a regular habit. And the Baltimore Orioles really need to get this offense working. After only scoring four runs in 18 innings, the O’s can be pleased to be 1-1 and not 0-2.

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles Dustin Pedroia Ubaldo Jimenez