Game 8: Orioles vs. Rays

In a reprise of the third game of the season, Brian Matusz faces off against Jeff Niemann. Matusz has the Orioles’ only victory thus far, cementing his place as the team’s top starter by a factor of infinity. Fun Fact: the Arizona Diamondbacks’ offense scored more runs in the 4th inning of their game on Sunday (13) than the O’s have scored in innings 2 through 9 combined for the entire season (12). Fun Fact #2: there are 27 (qualified) hitters in the majors with a SLG higher than the O’s team OPS (.676). Fun Fact #3 (and this one’s actually fun): O’s pitchers currently lead the AL in strike-out rate at 8.1 K/9. Fun Prediction #1: The O’s pull this one out 5-3.

Rays’ line-up:

Bat Pos Batting
Bartlett, Jason R SS .300/.344/.367
Rodriguez, Sean R 2B .154/.214/.154
Zobrist, Ben S RF .333/.357/.593
Longoria, Evan R 3B .292/.333/.583
Pena, Carlos L 1B .238/.333/.429
Upton, BJ R CF .208/.296/.250
Aybar, Willy S DH .143/.143/.571
Navarro, Dioner S C .235/.278/.235
Kapler, Gabe R LF .000/.200/.000

Niemann’s short 2010 outing:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP^ xFIP^
0.0 0.0 0.0 50.0% 2.94 3.96

He got knocked out of the game in the second inning after taking a Miguel Tejada line-drive off the shoulder. I looked at his repertoire^ before that game’s start. I think Niemann’s a guy the Birds should be able to put some runs on the board against, but that might only mean 3-4 tallies at this point.

O’s order getting shaken up:

Bat Pos Batting
Pie, Felix L LF .364/.417/.727
Tejada, Miguel R SS .207/.258/.345
Markakis, Nick L RF .143/.419/.238
Wieters, Matt S C .400/.464/.520
Jones, Adam R CF .233/.258/.433
Reimold, Nolan R DH .200/.294/.467
Atkins, Garrett R 1B .292/.292/.417
Wigginton, Ty R 2B .222/.222/.222
Izturis, Cesar S SS .235/.316/.235

I guess Dave Trembley is trying to get the offense going by moving some people around. And yet Nick Markakis and his .419 OBP are still batting third instead of second (or even first). My hunch is it’s a case of doing something just to do it – making a managerial move to show that he’s earning his paycheck.

Matusz:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP xFIP
12.6 9.0 0.0 0.0% 3.14 4.51

Love the strike-outs, but the rest leaves a bit to be desired. I expect better control, obviously. He may not walk 5 guys again all year (which would be awesome). And just because it worked last time… save us Brian Matusz, you’re our only hope!