Game Preview 07/07: Orioles Look to End First Half of Series with a Bang in Boston


After a terrible series in Arlington where the Orioles were swept by Showalter’s former team, the Texas Rangers, and were outscored 30-11, the O’s continue their road trip to Fenway Park to face an even tougher competitor in the Boston Red Sox. Let’s just hope the Orioles put the terrible series behind them and have a good 4-game series against Boston to end the first half of the season before the All-Star Break. On the mound tonight is probably the best pitcher of the rotation (who unfortunately got a loss against the Braves due to one bad pitch resulting in a winning grand slam), Jake Arrieta versus Red Sox southpaw Andrew Miller.

Currently, Arrieta is 9-5 so he’s looking for his 10th win tonight. I hope he can get to the double-digit win record before the All-Star Break. His ERA is at 4.74 with a WHIP of 1.35. Like I talked about above, his last outing was a loss to the Braves in 5 innings. He was going strong and was solid until the 5th inning when he loaded the bases and with 2 outs on and an 0-2 pitch, he gave up a grand slam to David Ross, the back-up catcher to All-Star Brian McCann. He’s only faced a few of the Red Sox line-up (Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Marco Scutaro, and Adrian Gonzalez) a few times (2, 3, 3, and 2, respectively) but they’re hitting .400 against him with 3 RBI and a home run.

Andrew Miller attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he set the Carolina career strikeout record with 325. He was also the 3rd in Carolina history with 27 wins. He was named Baseball America National Player of the Year and was the Roger Clemens Award winner as the nation’s top collegiate pitcher. He was drafted 6th overall in the 2006 Draft by the Detroit Tigers. He made his major league debut that year at the end of August against the Yankees where he pitched one inning of relief allowing only one base runner on a hit by pitch. He made his first major league start in May of 2007 against the Cardinals where he pitched 6 scoreless innings in the win along with 4 hits, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts. He was traded to the Florida Marlins later that year but didn’t do much with them due to injuries. In 2010, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox. He was called up to the majors this year on June 19. So far, he’s made 3 starts in which the team has won all 3 of the games and he was selected the winning pitcher in 2 of the 3 games. His record is 2-0 with a nice ERA of 3.06. His last start against the Astros resulted in 6 innings of work giving up 7 hits and 2 runs with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.

Worth Noting:

Nick Markakis has the highest batting average in all of baseball with a .412 average since June 8. He also has hits in 23 of his last 25 games and has hit 7 doubles, 3 homers, and 15 RBI in that span. Also, he’s 6 hits away from his 1,000th hit, which would make him the 14th player to reach 1k hits in an Orioles uniform.

J.J. Hardy leads all SS in home runs with 11 since May 21, is 2nd in runs scored with 27 and has reached base safely in 37 of his 41 games. He has hit 13 HRs so far which is more than the O’s shortstops hit in the last 3 years combined.

Though many fans are pissed at Jim Johnson for blowing the game against the Rangers the other night, he has lowered his ERA from 5.14 to 2.68 in his last 25 appearances and he leads all AL relievers with 50 1/3 innings pitched (because Showalter uses him too much). Koji is 2nd among AL relievers with a 5.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio and is 6th among all AL relievers in strikeouts per 9 innings with 11.84.

Red Sox set-up man Daniel Bard extended his scoreless streak to a career-high 17 innings on Wednesday night (going back to May 27). It’s the longest active relief streak in the majors right now.

1B and All-Star Adrian Gonzalez missed Wednesday’s game with a stiff neck but is expected back in the line-up tonight.

Carl Crawford, who is currently on the 15-fay DL with a left hamstring strain, is coming close to his return. He is expected to return July 18 when the Red Sox travel to Camden Yards to start a 3-game series.