May 21, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (left) questions first base umpire Angel Campos (right) against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the sixth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 9-8. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: What Good are Game Previews?

Some of the recent results of Baltimore Orioles games may really raise the question of the benefit of game previews. Many of the results are upside-down from what would be expected, which is, I guess, why they play the games.

For example, take last night. Wandy Rodriguez had horrible statistics and came into the game with every expectation that he would get drilled by the Orioles. He did. He was awful.

On the other hand, Chris Tillman entered with good numbers overall, including a most recent complete game, three-hit shutout of the Royals. He was even more awful than Rodriguez, and that really, really took something! Go figure!

Something is not right. Tillman claims there is nothing wrong, but his velocity and his results against a team that is … well … pretty far from the best would argue differently. It is a shame to waste an eight-run scoring effort from the O’s offense in the 9-8 loss.

Good things? Well, the hitting looks to be coming alive. And if that is true, this team is going to be fine. We know now that Brad Brach can pitch, even if he does get sent down due to the immediate demands of the hour.

More bad things?… Roch Kubatko reporting that somebody from the bullpen is on the cusp of the DL and that Zach Britton is walking around with ice on his ankle. Maybe by the time you read this, the situation will have been clarified. <UPDATE – It is Tommy Hunter instead with a groin injury, with Preston Guilmet being recalled and available tonight.>

Other bad news is the third-base coaching situation this year with lots of bad judgment calls in both directions. Last evening it was egregious – done with one out in sending that speedster J.J. Hardy home. Multiple other times this season there have been overly-cautious holds with two outs. Buck Showalter will stick by his man to the end: it is the charm and curse of the manager all in one package.

Ugh!

Tonight … Cleveland Indians at Baltimore Orioles

This is a team the Birds should spank at least three out of four… which means probably nothing. The Tribe is coming off a great three-game sweep of the Tigers, including a 13-inning affair last night. This has messed up their pitching plans such that their Friday starter, Justin Masterson, will be sent out tonight instead against Wei-Yin Chen.

In 10 starts and 58.2 innings this year, Masterson is 2-3 with a 5.06 ERA. His WHIP is 1.483, which is very hittable, so watch him pitch a shutout now! In his career against Baltimore, he is 6-5 with a 4.78 ERA … must have been some high-scoring games.

His numbers against current Baltimore Orioles hitters are pretty good overall. Chris Davis is 4-for-13 with two doubles and a homer, Adam Jones is 5-for-23 with two doubles and a triple, Nelson Cruz is 3-for-14 with a homer, Nick Markakis is 4-for-25, and J.J. Hardy 4-for-16.

Chen is currently 5-2 for the Orioles with a 3.69 ERA. He was won his past two starts. Chen has only ever once pitched against the Indians, and that was back in 2012 and was not a good game at all, giving up six runs in 6.1 innings and losing it.

The scant numbers against Chen from Indians starters tonight include Nick Swisher who is 2-for-14, Mike Aviles at 0-for-8, Michael Bourn at 1-for-3, and Michael Brantley who is 2-for-2 with a double and walk.

The Indians starting lineup:

Michael Bourn CF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Michael Brantley LF
Ryan Raburn DH
Nick Swisher 1B
Yan Gomes C
Carlos Santana 3B
David Murphy RF
Mike Aviles 2B

Orioles lineup:

Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Nelson Cruz DH
Steve Clevenger C
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 2B
David Lough LF

Tags: Baltimore Orioles

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