May 2, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (31) pitches in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Baltimore Orioles win 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Starting Pitching is Starting Pitching

 

The Baltimore Orioles began the 2014 season with concerns about the condition of their starting rotation, and the first month validated that concern. But there are signs that the situation may be changing a bit, especially in the wake of Ubaldo Jimenez completely shutting down the Minnesota Twins on Friday evening.

Maybe the starting pitching has begun to really start pitching.

Jimenez was simply marvelous over 7.1 innings with zero runs allowed on only three hits, striking out 10 … and get this – (this is not a mistake …) only ONE walk!

All along, Jimenez has had the best stuff on the Orioles staff in terms of ball movement, but he has had little command of the strike zone prior to last evening. If Ubaldo can generally repeat the performance against the Twins over the course of 2014, he will prove to be worth the investment and will make a huge difference in the possibilities of Baltimore baseball stretching into October.

Matt Wieters narrowly missed two homers – settling for a single and RBI double, while Nelson Cruz missed nothing whatsoever in his perfect swing on a monster two-run shot into the third deck. Together these hits drove in the three runs that gave the Baltimore Orioles a series opening 3-0 win.

Wieters is certainly an entirely new person this year from the left side of the plate. He has talked about some swing modifications, and the results are impressive. This is the hitter that was anticipated from the very beginning when Matt joined the Orioles organization.

The First Place Baltimore Orioles

The win moves the Orioles into first place in the AL East after Tampa Bay sent the Yankees to a 10-5 loss in 14 innings. The Yankees were 1-for-13 with RISP, including Derek Jeter having a chance to win the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning. Jeter was 0-for-7 for the game.

Saturday Afternoon Game Preview

The Baltimore Orioles will send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound with hopes to continue the current win streak. Chen comes in with a 3-1 record, though his 4.34 ERA has been bloated by 39 hits and seven walks over 29 innings. He did manage seven innings in his last start against the Royals, giving up only two runs.

Chen has had some excellent success in his two historic starts against the Twins – winning both games.

W

L

ERA

G

GS

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

2014 Stats

3

1

4.34

5

5

29.0

39

14

14

1

7

23

.325

1.59

Versus Twins

2

0

2.25

2

2

12.0

11

3

3

0

1

8

.244

1.00

MLB Career

22

19

4.07

60

60

358.2

367

173

162

47

103

281

.265

1.31

 

The Orioles will be facing the veteran Kevin Correia who, like Chen, has two career starts against the Birds. Correia has had a rough beginning this season, with a record of 0-3 and ERA of 7.33. He was particularly roughed-up by the Tigers in this last start with seven runs on eight hits in two innings.

W

L

ERA

G

GS

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

2014 Stats

0

3

7.33

5

5

27.0

37

25

22

2

8

12

.327

1.67

Versus Orioles

1

1

5.25

2

2

12

19

9

7

1

2

6

??

??

MLB Career

69

81

4.55

326

195

1278.1

1378

687

646

157

434

825

.277

1.42

 

I can guarantee that David Lough will be starting in left field. He is 6-for-8 with three doubles against Correia.  J.J. Hardy is 4-for-11, Delmon Young 3-for-9, and Markakis 2-for-3 with a double. Everything would point to the Orioles having the advantage in this game.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Matt Wieters Wei-Yin Chen

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