Game 2: Orioles at Rays

With Brian Matusz going on the DL (out 3-6 weeks) with an intercostal strain (rib cage / back), Chris Tillman’s start was moved up a day and Zach Britton will take the latter’s spot on Sunday. That, I think, is a bad move. In the Quest for .500 (!), the team is make a short-sighted decision. Britton over, say, Rick VandenHurk is maybe a half-win over the time that Matusz is out. Maybe. In return, the O’s are potentially giving up an entire year* of team control over Britton. Sure I’ll be excited to see him, but this is the kind of (process) thing that concerned me with the signing of Vlad and Gregg. The team seems like they’re valuing incremental improvements in 2011 way more highly than they should – there’s no practical difference between 77 wins and 78 wins, but they’re acting like they’re moving from 92 to 93 wins (which is surely very valuable). This news really soured a great Opening Day.

* Yes, if Britton gets sent back down and spends a month in the minors they can still get that year. I have a hard time expecting them to do that though, especially since I think Britton is at least as good as Chris Tillman right now, for example. If he comes up and out-pitches Tillman or whoever, it’ll be hard to justify sending him down. Harder than it is to justify keeping him down now (Britton had a good Spring, but he also only has 66 innings in Triple-A).

Anyway…

Rays:

Batting Fielding fWAR
Ben Zobrist .500/.500/1.250 0 0.2
Johnny Damon .000/.000/.000 0 -0.1
Evan Longoria .000/.000/.000 0 -0.1
Manny Ramirez .000/.000/.000 0 -0.1
Dan Johnson .333/.333/.667 0 0.0
B.J. Upton .333/.333/.667 0 0.0
Matt Joyce .000/.000/.000 0 -0.1
Kelly Shoppach #N/A #N/A #N/A
Reid Brignac .000/0.333/.000 0 0

For some reason, the image I get when looking at this line-up is of Manny Ramirez destroying a curveball and slowly ambling out of the batter’s box. Having the righty Shoppach in there at catcher over the lefty Jaso seems a bit odd, but it might have something to do with Chris Tillman’s best pitches being his curve and change. But Joyce and Johnson are still playing. Not sure.

James Shields (2010):

ERA FIP xFIP K/9 BB/9 GB% fWAR
5.18 4.24 3.55 8.3 2.3 41.3% 2.2

Shields’ ERA was ugly, but his peripherals were excellent. Guess that’s what happens with a .341 BABIP and a 13.8% HR/FB rate.

I don’t completely trust the pitch classifications here, but I’m going with them anyway. In any case, Shields has quite an assortment of pitches, with the change-up being his signature offering. If Shields is hitting his spots then he’s going to be tough for the O’s to handle.

Orioles:

Batting Fielding fWAR
Brian Roberts .250/.250/.750 0 0.0
Nick Markakis .333/.250/.333 0 0.0
Derrek Lee .000/.000/.000 0 -0.1
Vladimir Guerrero .250/.250/.250 0 0.0
Luke Scott .000/.000/.000 0 -0.1
Adam Jones .000/.000/.000 0 -0.1
Mark Reynolds .000/.000/.000 0 -0.1
Matt Wieters .333/.333/.333 0 0.0
J.J. Hardy .500/.667/1.000 0 0.1

Jones and Scott flip-flop against the right-handed twirler.

Chris Tillman (2010):

ERA FIP xFIP K/9 BB/9 GB% fWAR
5.87 5.89 5.10 5.2 5.2 42.7% -0.2

I’m not quite all the way to no longer thinking Tillman can be a major league pitcher, but my confidence in him has tumbled severely in the last year and a half.

Tillman is more or less a three pitch pitcher, with a high riding (but relatively straight) 90 mph fastball, a big overhand curve, and a surprisingly effective change-up. His lack of control makes the off-speed stuff not play as well, considering his repertoire resembles that of a veteran more than a young flame-thrower.


Stats: UZR, WAR, ERA, FIP, xFIP, K/9 & BB/9, GB%, HR/FB%, BABIP, PitchFX

Game 2: Orioles at Rays

The Orioles started off their season in the loss column, with a very tough 9th inning blown save. Today the Birds try to even things up behind Jeremy Guthrie, while the Rays go with the hard-throwing Matt Garza.

Rays’ line-up:

Bat Pos Batting
Bartlett, Jason R SS .500/.600/.500
Crawford, Carl L LF .250/.400/.500
Zobrist, Ben S RF .500/.500/.750
Longoria, Evan R 3B .250/.250/1.000
Pena, Carlos L 1B .250/.250/.250
Upton, BJ R CF .250/.250/.250
Burrell, Pat R DH .250/.250/.500
Shoppach, Kelly R C 1.000/1.000/2.000
Brignac, Reid L 2B .287/.301/.444 (’09)

Garza from 2009:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP^ xFIP^ WAR^
8.4 3.5 1.1 39.7% 4.17 4.21 3.4

His stuff^:

Garza throws that four-seam fastball, he throws it pretty hard (~93 mph), and he throws it a lot. He got an above average rate of  swings and misses on it, though it had only an average-ish run value (+0.06 runs per 100 throws, according to FanGraphs). The change-up got mixed in rarely, and while it got some whiffs, it didn’t have much sink on it and had a negative run value (-2.93 per 100). The curve had quite a bit of drop, and though batters made contact with it a little more often than average it was still a plus pitch overall (+1.57 runs per 100). The slider was pretty filthy, and was his best pitch by run value (+2.75 per 100). Garza’s control can be spotty at times, so some patience at the plate might pay off.

The O’s are sending up:

Bat Pos Batting
Roberts, Brian S 2B .000/.000/.000
Jones, Adam R CF .600/.600/1.400
Markakis, Nick L RF .333/.600/.667
Tejada, Miguel R SS .000/.000/.000
Scott, Luke L DH .333/.500/1.333
Wieters, Matt S C .500/.500/1.250
Reimold, Nolan R LF .279/.365/.466 (’09)
Atkins, Garrett R 1B .250/.250/.500
Izturis, Cesar S SS .500/.500/.500

Nolan’s making his first appearance of 2010. Not sure why they then left him off yesterday – they’re still playing on turf.

Edit: Seems Pie is out because of a rotator cuff strain. Sounds like he’s day-to-day.

Guthrie (’09):

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP xFIP WAR
5.0 2.7 1.6 34.7% 5.31 5.22 1.1

Setting the over/under of home runs allowed by Jeremy at 1.5 (keep in mind that he probably won’t be pitching a full 9 innings).