Game 3: Orioles at Rays

I’m still not happy that Zach Britton is making this start, but that doesn’t stop me from being really excited to actually see him pitch. I’ve been a big fan for a while, listing him as the O’s top prospect when the consensus was still that he was below the likes of Josh Bell and Brandon Erbe.

Rays:

Batting Fielding fWAR
B.J. Upton .429/.429/.571 0 0.1
Elliot Johnson .000/.500/.000 0 0.0
Ben Zobrist .286/.444/.714 0 0.2
Manny Ramirez .125/.125/.125 0 -0.1
Kelly Shoppach .333/.500/.333 0 0.0
Sean Rodriguez .000/.000/.000 0 0.0
Dan Johnson .143/.143/.286 0 -0.1
Matt Joyce .000/.286/.000 0 -0.1
Sam Fuld .000/.000/.000 0 0.0

Longoria being out probably helps Britton, as does the fact that Joe Maddon can’t completely stack the Rays line-up with righties.

Wade Davis (2010):

ERA FIP xFIP K/9 BB/9 GB% fWAR
4.07 4.79 4.61 6.1 3.3 39.2% 0.8

Davis’ stuff is good enough that his ERA this year should look a little more like last year’s, as opposed to his FIP or xFIP.

Davis is mostly going to come after the O’s with fastballs and breaking-balls, which means that if the Baltimore batters can keep themselves from falling behind in the count too much they may be able to do some damage (though Davis’ fastballs aren’t meatballs by any stretch).

Orioles:

Batting Fielding fWAR
Brian Roberts .375/.375/1.000 0 0.2
Nick Markakis .167/.250/.167 0 -0.1
Derrek Lee .250/.250/.250 0 -0.1
Vladimir Guerrero .250/.250/.250 0 -0.1
Matt Wieters .167/.167/.167 0 0.0
Adam Jones .000/.000/.000 0 -0.2
Mark Reynolds .143/.143/.143 0 -0.1
Felix Pie .000/.000/.000 0 0.0
J.J. Hardy .250/.500/.500 0 0.1

WIth Luke Scott out for at least a couple days with a groin inury, Felix Pie takes over in left-field. Moving Wieters up a few spots in the line-up is interesting.

Zach Britton (2010, minors):

ERA FIP xFIP K/9 BB/9 GB% fWAR
2.70 ~3.38 ~3.97 7.3 3.0 64.0% N/A

Britton had a very good year in the minors, but his strike-out and groundball rates are likely to fall in the majors, and his walk rate will probably go up. If he pounds the bottom of the strike-zone he’ll be able to get away with not missing a ton of bats right away though.

Here’s what I expect to see from Britton (or at least something not hugely different):

Sinking fastball, with some harder four-seamers mixed in. An OK change-up, and a relatively sharp slider. The velocities of the off-speed pitches are wild guesses – well, all of it is a wild guess, but those aspects more so. We’ll see what happens.


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

Game 3: Orioles at Rays

With the series already lost for the O’s, game three features a match-up of young starters. The Orioles send rookie Brian Matusz to the mound hoping to avoid a sweep, with second-year man Jeff “Big NyQuil” Niemann going for Tampa Bay.

Rays’ line-up:

Bat Pos Batting
Bartlett, Jason R SS .375/.444/.375
Crawford, Carl L LF .250/.333/.375
Zobrist, Ben S 2B .375/.375/.500
Longoria, Evan R 3B .375/.375/1.250
Pena, Carlos L 1B .375/.375/.500
Upton, BJ R CF .286/.375/.286
Burrell, Pat R DH .143/.250/.286
Kapler, Gabe R RF .239/.329/.439 (’09)
Shoppach, Kelly R C .250/.250/.500

I miss the Rays having Gabe Gross too. Gabe of the Day is my all-time favorite platoon.

Niemann’s 2009 stats:

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP^ xFIP^ WAR^
6.2 2.9 0.9 40.5% 4.07 4.53 3.2

His stuff^:

Niemann’s fastball didn’t have a ton of tail or sink, and came in at a pretty average 91-92 mph. It didn’t get all that many swings and misses, as might be expected. The change didn’t have a lot of movement either, though it was thrown quite rarely. Maybe not seeing it very often helped fool batters, because they tended to miss when they swung at it (and it had his highest pitch type run value, at +1.74 per 100 thrown). His slider was OK, as was his curveball – which was more of the 12-6 variety.  Not an overpowering guy, but he’ll throw strikes and generally give his team a chance to win.

Via RJ Anderson, he’s also recently added a cutter and splitter.

The O’s are sending up:

Bat Pos Batting
Roberts, Brian S 2B .000/.000/.000
Jones, Adam R CF .444/.444/.889
Markakis, Nick L RF .167/.444/.333
Tejada, Miguel R SS .125/.222/.125
Scott, Luke L LF .143/.250/.571
Wieters, Matt S C .288/.340/.412
Reimold, Nolan R DH .250/.250/.250
Atkins, Garrett R 1B .250/.250/.500
Lugo, Julio R SS .280/.352/.405 (’09)

Roberts getting on base would be helpful to the offense I think. Also, getting Izzy’s bat out of there. Seems that taking the defensive downgrade at short would have made more sense yesterday with Guthrie – a righty – on the mound, instead of Matusz today. Lefty on the mound means more right-handed batters means more balls expected to be hit to short, I’d think.

Matusz (’09):

K/9 BB/9 HR/9 GB rate FIP xFIP WAR
7.7 2.8 1.2 31.2% 4.08 4.38 0.8

He had a very good Spring – hopefully he can carry it over to the regular season. Also, given the last two nights… save us Brian Matusz, you’re our only hope!