Games 30 & 31: Orioles at Twins

It was bound to happen eventually; it rains in Minnesota and the Twins get blamed for not having a roof on their new stadium. It’s cool, because now we get a double header. Jeremy Guthrie duels Fransisco Liriano in game one, and Kevin Millwood goes up against Scott Baker in the evening match-up. If the O’s can manage a split, I’d gladly take it. Line-ups are only for the early game – I imagine we’ll see some back-ups playing in the later one.

Twins’ line-up:

Bat Pos Batting Def WAR
Span, Denard L CF .274/.381/.376 -1.4 0.7
Hudson, Orlando S 2B .280/.366/.373 1.4 0.9
Morneau, Justin L 1B .357/.492/.643 2.2 2.0
Thome, Jim L DH .250/.384/.567 0.6
Cuddyer, Michael R RF .288/.336/.458 -3.5 0.3
Kubel, Jason L LF .207/.337/.310 1.5 0.0
Ramos, Wilson R C .400/.400/.550 0 0.3
Harris, Brendan S SS .200/.327/.311 0.1 0.2
Punto, Nick S 3B .222/.260/.311 3.3 0.3

Liriano:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP^ xFIP^ WAR^
9.0 3.3 0.0 53.9% 2.16 3.07 1.4

He looks like he’s finally back from Tommy John surgery.

His stuff^:

Liriano is throwing hard again, and using that two-seamer to rack up groundballs – the pitch gets a lot of tail and sink on it. His hard slider is filthy, and his change-up is also very good offering. The 1.50 ERA is unsustainably low, but I expect him to come out dealing. Guys that get groundballs, limit walks, and miss bats often end up near the top of the Cy Young voting (or should, at least).

Baker:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP^ xFIP^ WAR^
6.6 2.6 1.0 36.8% 3.93 4.20 0.5

His stuff:

Average-ish fastball, with decent tail but not a ton of sink. The slider doesn’t get a lot of bite, and neither does the curve. The former has had a good run value throughout his career according to FanGraphs, though he’s thrown it less and less each season. His change-up is very effective, and he’s been able to get quite a few swings and misses on it. Not a dominant repertoire, but with Baker’s ability to mix and spot his pitches it works well.

O’s line-up:

Bat Pos Batting Def WAR
Lugo, Julio R 2B .194/.256/.194 -0.2 -0.2
Jones, Adam R CF .218/.242/.355 -2.3 -0.5
Markakis, Nick L RF .312/.411/.486 -0.9 0.9
Tejada, Miguel R 3B .320/.368/.495 -0.9 0.7
Wigginton, Ty R DH .299/.386/.690 0.9
Wieters, Matt S C .277/.342/.426 1 0.7
Atkins, Garrett R 1B .272/.298/.333 0.9 0.0
Reimold, Nolan R LF .192/.294/.342 -1.3 -0.3
Izturis, Cesar S SS .221/.259/.194 -0.2 -0.3

Wieters has a career wOBA .350 of versus righties and .300 versus lefties. That means that he’s either starting the wrong game, or he’s starting both games. If Dave Trembley wears Wieters out before the All-Star break, I’m not going to be a happy camper. You can ruin young promising catchers that way.

Guthrie:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP xFIP WAR
4.8 1.9 1.0 37.5% 4.12 4.66 0.5

More strike-outs would be nice, but at least Guts isn’t getting knocked around nearly as much as last season.

Millwood:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP xFIP WAR
7.2 2.5 1.6 40.5% 4.65 4.01 0.3

It’s been a few years since Millwood has pitched this well for a full season. Would be a nice break for the team.