Game 20: Orioles vs. Yankees

Well, in the simplest words possible: yesterday was a game to forget about, quickly.  A 15-3 rout by the Yankees was not what most fans were looking forward to.  Maybe the O’s can bounce back today and salvage a game in this rain-shortened series (if not, they’ll start 0-4 to the Yanks).  Right now, it’s back to the cellar for the Orioles.

Yankees:

Batting Fielding fWAR
Derek Jeter .221/.289/.235 0 -0.2
Curtis Granderson .267/.313/.650 4 1.1
Mark Teixeira .279/.408/.656 1 1.0
Alex Rodriguez .370/.483/.826 0 1.2
Robinson Cano .324/.329/.577 -1 0.6
Nick Swisher .254/.365/.288 1 0.2
Jorge Posada .164/.270/.491 0 0.1
Russell Martin .333/.410/.722 0 1.2
Brett Gardner .154/.214/.288 0 -0.4

Well, after yesterday, the Yankees showed that they can get run production from anywhere in this strong lineup.  A-Rod had a grand slam and 6 RBI, Russell Martin had 2 home runs and 4 RBI.  Even Posda, whose average is down considerably, has been hitting well.  Extremely sound lineup from one to nine.

Freddy Garcia:

ERA FIP xFIP K/9 BB/9 GB% fWAR
1.29 3.33 4.19 2.6 2.6 52.4% 0.1

Garcia has been money since coming to the Yankees this offseason.  Granted, he doesn’t strike out many batters at all, and his K:BB ratio suffers because of this, but I’ll give you one stat so far this year: he has given up 0 home runs so far.  Zero.  That’s very impressive, especially since he pitches in Yankee Stadium.  And he has a good GB%.  Tough to beat Freddy when most of the hits are on the ground or short fly balls.

The graph truly shows why he strikes out so few per nine innings.  With his fastball only topping out at an average of 86, overpowering might be the last word I would use.  However, he uses a nice mix of his pitches to fool batters and get plenty of ground balls and weak fly balls.  As I’ve been saying all year, the O’s really need to work the count today and get on base any way possible.

Orioles:

Batting Fielding fWAR
Brian Roberts .278/.313/.456 -1 0.3
Nick Markakis .208/.284/.319 -2 -0.3
Derrek Lee .225/.313/.296 0 -0.1
Vladimir Guerrero .266/.266/.405 0 -0.1
Luke Scott .190/.271/.381 2 0.1
Adam Jones .224/.243/.418 1 0.3
Mark Reynolds .177/.268/.306 -3 -0.4
Matt Wieters .255/.328/.491 0 0.5
Cesar Izturis .235/.316/.235 3 0.3

A struggling offensive team, the O’s are really slipping offensively.  Reynolds (so far) isn’t giving the power production that everyone was hoping for (though he is striking out 10% less than last year).  Need some run production to help out the pitching today.

Jake Arrieta:

ERA FIP xFIP K/9 BB/9 GB% fWAR
5.08 4.08 4.39 5.91 3.38 42.6% 0.3

Arrieta made his MLB debut against the Yankees last year and shined.  He had a good outing last week against the Twins, but that was a rather depleted lineup.  He’ll have his hands full against a very strong Yankees lineup.  Needs to keep the ball down and can’t give up the big fly like the Orioles staff did yesterday.

Arrieta has good swing-and-miss stuff.  Fastball tops out around 93 MPH, he just can’t leave it up in the zone too much.  Nice 92 MPH sinker and a good difference in velocities between his fastball and curve.  Really is going to need to get some K’s instead of the long ball today.  Also needs to stay away from the walks; he’ll get into plenty of trouble if he gives out a few free passes.


Stats: UZRWARERAFIPxFIPK/9 & BB/9GB%PitchFX

Game 20: Orioles vs. Yankees

The O’s are coming of an exciting win in Boston, and the offense is starting to come around with 13 runs and 31 hits in the last two games. They come home only 3-16, but they’ve played better than that and look to carry forward with the winning ways against the Yankees. Kevin Millwood faces the tough test of shutting down the New York hitters, while the O’s will have to contend with Phil Hughes.

I’ll be going down to the game to meet Navin Vawani, who’s taking a trip to all 30 ballparks and writing about it in conjunction with The Globe and Mail newspaper. I’ll be in the upper reserve section behind home plate (bargain seats!), wearing my Wieters – Catcher of Champions shirt. (Or an Orioles hoodie; looks chilly outside.) Feel free to say “hi”. Anyway… to the match-up:

Yankees’ line-up:

Bat Pos Batting Def
Jeter, Derek R SS .316/.350/.474 -2.9
Gardner, Brett L LF .327/.421/.388 -0.7
Teixeira, Mark S 1B .119/.280/.254 0
Rodriguez, Alex R 3B .294/.400/.515 1.8
Cano, Robinson L 2B .368/.416/.676 -2.9
Posada, Jorge S C .315/.383/.611 -1
Granderson, Curtis L CF .246/.343/.443 1.4
Swisher, Nick S DH .224/.348/.431
Winn, Randy S RF .000/.000/.000 0.3

So yeah, they can swing the bats a little. Jeez.

Hughes:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP^ xFIP^
11.7 5.1 0.7 33.3% 3.17 3.56

He took a no-hitter into the late innings of his last start, before having it broken up on an infield single back to the mound that Hughes couldn’t find. He’s settling into the rotation quite well.

His stuff^:

Hughes is mostly a three pitch pitcher at this point He’s got a riding fastball in the low 90s with some tailing action that’s been hard to hit; and cutter in the high 80s that’s been hard to hit; and a big curveball in the mid 70s that’s hard to hit. There’s also an occasional change and two-seamer – both also with good tail on them – mixed in. So yeah, he’s got some pretty good stuff. The O’s might have trouble making solid contact – or any contact at all.

O’s line-up:

Bat Pos Batting Def
Jones, Adam R CF .212/.230/.388 -2.9
Markakis, Nick R RF .282/.388/.423 -1.6
Wieters, Matt S C .288/.400/.424 1
Tejada, Miguel R 3B .283/.338/.467 0.8
Scott, Luke L DH .207/.270/.397
Wigginton, Ty R 2B .327/.410/.712 -1.2
Hughes, Rhyne R 1B .444/.500/.556 0
Reimold, Nolan R LF .184/.298/.327 -2.4
Izturis, Cesar S SS .208/.255/.250 1.1

I really like Nick hitting second, given his walks and opposite field hits approach. The BB% has gone since his very patient start, so maybe being out of an RBI spot might encourage him to accept a free pass more often.

Millwood:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP xFIP
8.1 1.4 1.4 40.5% 3.72 3.51

He’s really changed  his pitch usage around, going with the cutter and the two-seamer more this year. The fastball velocity is down, and he’s also throwing more breaking-balls. May it keep working as well as it has.

The bullpen will likely be called upon to back Millwood up, but it won’t include Kam Mickolio. The Almighty has been sent down to the minors, with Alfredo Simon – who’s been working in relief in Norfolk – called up to take his place.