Game 3: Orioles vs. Twins

The Orioles have already won their first series of 2012, and go for the sweep today.

The Twins (2012 stats):

Pos Batting UZR fWAR
Denard Span CF .375/.375/.375 0 0.1
Jamey Carroll SS .000/.125/.000 0 -0.1
Joe Mauer CF .167/.375/.167 0 0.0
Justin Morneau DH .375/.375/.500 0 0.1
Josh Willingham LF .286/.375/.714 0 0.1
Ryan Doumit C .000/.000/.000 0 -0.1
Sean Burroughs 3B .000/.000/.000 0 0.0
Luke Hughes 2B .223/.289/.338 (’11) 3 0.4
Ben Revere RF .250/.250/.250 0 0.0

The Twins have not done much in the first two games this year; .200/.268/.262 as a team with only two extra-base hits (or, as many as Nick Markakis had on Opening Day). The 10-5 strike-out to walk ratio isn’t the worst, at least.

Anthony Swarzak (2011 stats):

K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP fWAR
4.9 2.3 38.2% 4.32 4.04 4.67 1.0

Swarzak comes from a long line of right-handed strike-throwers in the Minnesota system. He has to be careful with his control, because his stuff is not particularly good – even if he gets ahead in the count, he doesn’t really have an out pitch. The fastball is 90-92, and neither the change nor the curve have a ton of movement, so it’s not surprising he doesn’t miss many bats.

The Orioles (2012 stats):

Pos Batting UZR fWAR
Endy Chavez LF .310/.323/.426 (’11) 2 1.5
J.J. Hardy SS .167/.375/.167 0 0.0
Nick Markakis RF .714/.750/1.857 0 0.5
Adam Jones CF .250/.250/.750 0 0.1
Matt Wieters C .200/.429/.800 0 0.2
Nick Johnson DH .000/.000/.000 0 -0.1
Wilson Betemit 3B .333/.333/.333 0 0.0
Chris Davis 1B .000/.000/.000 0 -0.1
Robert Andino 2B .429/.429/.429 0 0.1

Endy Chavez has a career .313 OBP – only Davis and Andino are worse, and they’re rightfully batting 8-9. It doesn’t matter that Chavez is fast, and it doesn’t matter that he hit .444 this spring – he should not be batting lead-off. The team does not need a “lead-off type” hitter in the line-up – they should be giving the most at bats to someone who can actually hit. Put Betemit (.336 career OBP) or Johnson (.401!) in the first spot. Or just move everyone up a slot (Hardy-Markakis-etc.). But don’t bat Chavez lead-off.

It is unfortunate see Mark Reynolds on the bench against a guy in Swarzak who he would seem to be good against (his stuff doesn’t miss bats and he should be around the zone). I assume it has to do with him fouling a ball off his leg yesterday (though it doesn’t sound serious), and not his atrocious defense. Not that O’s fans will really get a reprieve in that area (Reynolds: -11 UZR/150 career, Betemit: -14 UZR/150). Against an opposing pitcher that isn’t that good (and is a right-handed), I’d consider starting Ryan Flaherty at third instead.

Jason Hammel (2011 stats):

K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP fWAR
5.0 3.6 43.9% 4.76 4.83 4.65 1.0

Hammel’s stuff should be good enough to strike out more than 5 batters per nine, so if he can get his control back to where it was in 2009-10 (~2.2 BB/9) then I think he could make up for the loss of Jeremy Guthrie by himself. Not that Spring Training stats mean much, but he did strike out a batter per ninning with a 2.7 BB/9.