Baltimore Orioles: Previewing the Detroit Tigers series
In a four game series starting today, the Baltimore Orioles plan to continue their winning streak as they face the Detroit Tigers at Camden Yards.
Both the Baltimore Orioles and the Tigers have similar struggles with inconsistent pitching and slumping All-Stars.
And, both are coming off of big wins in their previous series. The O’s defeated the Kansas City Royals in a three-game sweep while the Tigers took two games in the series against the New York Yankees.
While the O’s are sitting one game under .500, the Tigers have a record of 49-57. The O’s are 5.5 games back and the Tigers are 8.5 games back.
The pitching match-ups have been announced. Tonight’s game features Matt Boyd against Chris Tillman. Boyd struggled early in the season and was sent back to Triple-A for a little work. Boyd’s ERA is 5.30 and his WHIP is 1.62. Tillman’s sitting with a 7.65 and a WHIP of 1.98. This game could go either way and will be dependent on offense.
Friday’s match-up looks to be Justin Verlander against Kevin Gausman. While Verlander always has the potential to be dangerous, he is having an off year with an excess number of walks (60). However, Verlander does do well at Camden Yards. But, Baltimore is Gausman’s home and in his last three starts, he has an ERA of 0.44. This could be a serious pitching duel if both men are on their A-games.
Saturday’s game features Michael Fulmer and Wade Miley. Fulmer is the reigning Rookie of Year, but he has had trouble going into later innings. In his last three starts, his ERA looks more like Tillman’s – 7.56, but Miley’s in the last three isn’t much better – 6.75. Fulmer is a pit bull on the mound, attacking the zone with his 95+ MPH fastball. If Fulmer is on, Miley will be the underdog in this game.
Finally, Sunday’s game promises to be the most entertaining of the bunch. The matchup is Anibal Sanchez vs. Ubaldo Jimenez. Like Boyd, Sanchez spent time in the minors this season. But unlike Boyd, Sanchez sent himself down. Since his return, he has been surprisingly steady with two wins in his last three starts. Jimenez has also performed well in his last three starts, but Sanchez has had more run support. Both pitchers are 33 years old and fighting to stay relevant. Sunday afternoon should be a good day to be at the ballpark as both teams will have to show up at the plate to support their pitchers.
These two teams match up very well regarding pitching. Neither has a lights-out ace pitcher and both are at the bottom of the American League. The Tigers team ERA is 4.58 and the Orioles have a team ERA of 4.85. These numbers combine the starting rotation and the bullpen.
Regarding pitching, the one area where the teams differ is at the end of the game. The Tigers bullpen is better than it has been, but they just traded their closer, Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs. Now, Shane Greene has the closing role. He did well in two innings against the Yankees, but he is no Zach Britton. And, the set-up guys are not as consistent as Darren O’Day and Mychal Givens. If the Tigers starters cannot go deep, the Orioles have the edge.
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While the pitching is quite even between these two teams, offensively, there are differences. The Tigers do have the fourth best OPS in the AL, but the Orioles have 25 more home runs that Detroit has. Miguel Cabrera has struggled all season and has hit only 13 long balls. Justin Upton has been the team’s power hitter and is about it now that the Tigers sent J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Tigers also just traded away Alex Avila, who had fifth most home runs on the team. So, the Tigers just don’t have the power that they once had.
The Orioles have the edge at the plate, especially with the consistency coming from Trey Mancini, Jonathan Schoop, and Manny Machado in the last few series. Machado seems to be finding his groove and is close to breaking out. And, with Tim Beckham going four for eight in his first two games in an O’s jersey, the O’s look like a tough team to beat.
Next: Orioles: Pitching trends show improvements
The Orioles went 1-2 when the two teams met at Comerica Park back in May. The first game was a pitching meltdown where the Orioles won 13-11. In the last two games, the O’s lost by one run 4-5 and 5-6.