Mar 31, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Fans enter the gates on Eutaw Street prior to an opening day game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Let’s Play Two, Doubleheader Preview


 

The Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates will square off in an old-fashioned doubleheader at Camden Yards on Thursday in order to make up consecutive rainouts.

It was the famous Chicago Cubs ambassador for the game of baseball – Ernie Banks – who is often quoted as enthusiastically saying, “It’s a great day for a ball game; let’s play two!”  And I agree.

The Pirates are not off to a very good start on the season. Their record is 10-16 and the offense ranks next to last in the NL at .221, while the team pitching ERA of 3.65 places them 10th in the NL. By contrast, the Baltimore Orioles are 4th in the AL in hitting at .265 and 12th in pitching at 4.49.

Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is hitting .286, while second baseman Neil Walker has six homers while batting just .235. Those are the shining star statistics at this moment, as the Pirates are near the bottom of most offensive categories.

Game One at 4:05

The pitching matchup in the afternoon game will feature 6’5” Charlie Morton (0-3) versus Bud Norris (1-2).

Morton has pitched once in his career against the Orioles on June 20, 2011 in Pittsburgh. It was not a happy experience for the big right-hander. He gave up six earned runs on eight hits, as just about everyone in the lineup got a single or double – including Jake Arrieta, the winning pitcher, who singled in the top of the first before even getting to throw a pitch.

This will be start #6 for Morton, who has a current ERA of 4.35 over 31 innings. Actually, three of his five games have been quality starts. His most recent outing was against the Reds where he allowed three runs on four hits over six innings; however he also gave up five walks.

The Orioles will send Budd Norris out for his fifth start of the season. He is currently 1-2 with a 4.44 ERA, though his WHIP is a respectable 1.23.

Having pitched for the Astros when they were a National League affiliate, Norris has a more extensive record against the Pirates than would typically be true of an American League pitcher. His 3.48 ERA over 10 starts and 62 innings is decent, but his 4-5 record would seem to indicate that he likely did not have great run support. Here are his career numbers versus the Pirates …

Norris

W

L

ERA

G

GS

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

K

vs.Pittsburgh

4

5

3.48

10

10

62.0

64

27

24

7

21

71

 

 

Here are the numbers of the individual Pirates batters against Norris. He has kept Andrew McCutchen in check by holding him to a .233 average. The only really strong performance is by Neil Walker, who is 9-for-21 with a homer.

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

Andrew McCutchen

30

7

2

1

0

4

2

9

.233

Neil Walker

21

9

1

0

1

1

5

4

.429

Jose Tabata

19

5

1

1

0

3

0

4

.263

Pedro Alvarez

14

2

1

0

1

3

0

10

.143

Ike Davis

11

3

1

0

0

0

1

2

.273

Gaby Sanchez

7

2

0

0

0

2

1

0

.286

Travis Ishikawa

5

1

0

0

1

2

1

3

.200

Clint Barmes

5

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

.200

Russell Martin

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

.333

 

Game Two

Pittsburgh Pirates starter Brandon Cumpton will be appearing in only his second start of the season and in his eighth MLB game. His previous start on the 24th was a good one against the Reds where, even though he took the loss, he only gave up two runs on four hits over seven innings.

His minor league stats would certainly indicate that this is a pitcher with some good stuff.

W

L

ERA

G

GS

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

2014 – 1 game

0

1

2.57

1

1

7.0

4

2

2

0

1

5

.167

0.71

MLB Career

2

2

2.15

7

6

37.2

30

10

9

1

6

27

.216

0.96

Minors Career

30

27

3.68

83

78

447.0

433

202

183

28

133

292

.257

1.27

 

Chris Tillman will be making his sixth start of the season for the Baltimore Orioles. After throwing four consecutive quality starts that had his ERA at 1.71, Tillman was lit up a bit at Toronto last Wednesday in the 2nd inning particularly – giving up seven runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings.

Here are Tillman’s season and career stats up to this date …

W

L

ERA

G

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HB

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

2014 Stats

3

1

3.38

5

32.0

31

14

12

5

1

9

27

.242

1.25

MLB Career

35

26

4.22

89

505.0

486

257

237

79

12

181

388

.252

1.32

 

Somewhat surprisingly, Tillman has never pitched against the Pirates.

It would be great for the Orioles to sweep a doubleheader before heading on a road trip to Minnesota. The Twins will also be playing a Thursday home doubleheader against the Dodgers. Looking ahead to the weather, it would appear that the highs each day in Minneapolis will be in the mid 50s… not the best for Ubaldo…

Sorry to end the post on that last note.

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