Game 4: Orioles vs. Blue Jays

In their home opener, the Orioles host AL East rival Toronto Blue Jays. The team expected to battle the O’s for 4th place comes into town with a 2-1 record, and will send recently acquired Brandon Morrow to the hill. The local Birds counter with Brad Bergesen, making his first big league start since being hit by that line drive last July.

Jays’ line-up:

  Bat Pos Batting
Bautista, Jose R RF .091/.333/.182
Gonzalez, Alex R SS .308/.308/.615
Lind, Adam L DH .333/.429/.583
Wells, Vernon R CF .600/.692/1.800
Overbay, Lyle L 1B .091/.231/.273
Buck, John R C .125/.300/.250
Encarnacion, Edwin R 3B .111/.231/.111
Snider, Travis L LF .091/.231/.182
McDonald, John R 2B .258/.271/384 (’09)

Wells has 4 home runs through three games, and a higher slugging percentage than the top five guys in the O’s batting order combined (1.768). Couple more fun early season (read: small sample size) Wells’ stats:

* A 555 wRC+, and a .929 wOBA that would have ranked 8th in the AL last year… in OPS.

* His HR per flyball rate is 67%. That’s 6 flyballs, and 4 caught by spectators.

Morrow’s 2009 stats:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP^ xFIP^ WAR^
8.1 5.7 1.3 37.3% 5.05 4.89 0.2

His stuff^:

Morrow spent about half his time in Triple-A last year, and about half of his time in the majors pitching out of the bullpen, where he didn’t really need to use all of his pitches. The fastball – in the mid 90s and of the high riding variety – was his primary offering, and batters didn’t have an easy time making contact with it (as fastballs go). The splitter was his change-of-pace pitch, though it too came in pretty fast at almost 88 mph. His breaking pitches – both the hard slider and the (also) pretty hard curveball – have good movement on them and were difficult to put a bat on. Morrow’s issues are of control and not stuff, so a patient* approach at the plate might be especially helpful.

* I know I say this quite often, but that doesn’t make it any less true. In some cases it helps more than in others though.

The O’s starting nine:

  Bat Pos Batting
Roberts, Brian S 2B .143/.200/.214
Jones, Adam R CF .286/.286/.571
Markakis, Nick L RF .200/.429/.300
Tejada, Miguel R SS .083/.214/.083
Scott, Luke L DH .200/.333/.600
Wieters, Matt S C .500/.500/.750
Reimold, Nolan R LF .250/.250/.625
Atkins, Garrett R 1B .333/.333/.583
Izturis, Cesar S SS .333/.429/.333

Wieters is starting for his 4th game in a row – and in a day game after a night game no less – probably because it’s the team’s first game in Baltimore. He’s been hitting well though, so if he can handle it then it’s nice to have him in there.

Bergesen (’09):

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP xFIP WAR
4.7 2.3 0.8 50.1% 4.10 4.42 2.3

A strong groundball inducing performance would give the team a good chance of evening up their record.