|BALTIMORE ( CHEN )|
TAMPA BAY ( HELLICKSON )
|925||BALTIMORE||+130||Ov 7.5,+100||+120||Ov 7,-120|
|926||TAMPA BAY||-140||Un 7.5,-120||-130||Un 7,+100|
|Past 7 Games||1-0||+1.5||1-0||7.0||0.342||0.405||4.0||0.200||0.226|
|Past 7 Games||0-1||-1.6||1-0||4.0||0.200||0.226||7.0||0.342||0.405|
|4/2/2013||HAMMEL(R)||@ TAMPA BAY||PRICE(L)||7-4||W||150||7 un||O||13||8||1||6||2||0|
|4/3/2013||CHEN(L)||@ TAMPA BAY||HELLICKSON(R)|| |
|4/4/2013|| ||@ TAMPA BAY|| || |
|4/5/2013|| ||MINNESOTA|| || |
|4/6/2013|| ||MINNESOTA|| || |
|4/7/2013|| ||MINNESOTA|| || |
|4/8/2013|| ||@ BOSTON|| || |
|4/10/2013|| ||@ BOSTON|| || |
|4/4/2013|| ||BALTIMORE|| || |
|4/5/2013|| ||CLEVELAND|| || |
|4/6/2013|| ||CLEVELAND|| || |
|4/7/2013|| ||CLEVELAND|| || |
|4/8/2013|| ||@ TEXAS|| || |
|4/9/2013|| ||@ TEXAS|| || |
|4/10/2013|| ||@ TEXAS|| || |
|BALTIMORE: HITTING: The leadoff spot is 2B BRIAN ROBERTS' if he can stay on the field. His recent injury history is very troubling, though his talent makes him a risk worth taking. 2B ROBERT ANDINO and 2B RYAN ADAMS would compete for time if Roberts is out. The O's best hitter last year was arguably SS J.J. HARDY. He was healthy for the first time in years and flexed his legit 30-HR power. If Roberts and Hardy stay healthy, OF NICK MARKAKIS will likely hit third and see an increase in RBI chances. OF ADAM JONES seems to have the highest ceiling of any Baltimore hitter. 3B MARK REYNOLDS will probably end up at 1B. His horrendous average cancels out some of his 40-HR potential. OF NOLAN REIMOLD revived his MLB career with an impressive end of the season. He's got a shot to start in left. 1B CHRIS DAVIS is a candidate to start at first, third or DH as sort of a Junior Mark Reynolds. C MATT WIETERS is already one of the best two-way backstops in baseball at age 25. |
STARTING PITCHING: WEI-YIN CHEN pitched well enough in Japan (2.48 ERA, 1.06 WHIP in past four seasons) to become the de-facto ace of this horrible pitching staff. JAKE ARRIETA is a mediocre talent, but is good enough to secure a spot as a Baltimore starter. JASON HAMMEL hopes the switch from Coors Field will help lower his career ERA of 4.99. The highest-risk, highest-potential O's pitcher may be BRIAN MATUSZ. His 2011 line is frightening (10.69 ERA, 2.11 WHIP), but he has the raw skills and pitch repertoire to turn it around. TOMMY HUNTER came over from Texas midseason and should round out the rotation.
RELIEF PITCHING: There was talk of JIM JOHNSON being converted into a starter, but he'll open the season as the team's closer. Johnson established himself as the O's best option to close after going 7-for-7 in that role last September. KEVIN GREGG would step in as the ninth-inning man if Johnson falters. He was unstable in that role last year. Gregg is a trade candidate this midseason, in which case he'd probably end up a set-up man elsewhere. Flame-throwing MATT LINDSTROM is a darkhorse for saves. He saved 23 games for Houston in 2010 before being used as a set-up man in Colorado last year. TSUYOSHI WADA brings his finesse game from Japan. He's a heady hurler who hides the ball well, but he's in for a rude awakening in the A.L. East. BRAD BERGESEN and CHRIS JAKUBAUSKAS are long relievers who may get bumped into the rotation if the young Baltimore SPs struggle again.
|TAMPA BAY: HITTING: OF DESMOND JENNINGS' on-base skills will lead to tons of runs and SBs despite his mediocre batting average. 2B BEN ZOBRIST bounced back from a disappointing 2010, and will continue to produce near the top of the batting order. Though a series of nagging injuries plagued his 2011 season, 3B EVAN LONGORIA slugged 17 HR in his last 53 games. Fully healthy this season, he'll be an elite power-hitter with double-digit SB potential. OF B.J. UPTON's days in Tampa may be numbered. He's an elite athlete, but he just might lose his head if he's traded into a tough situation. After a hot start, OF MATT JOYCE settled in as the productive hitter he is. He should get to play every day in right field. SSs SEAN RODRIGUEZ and REID BRIGNAC will battle for ABs but neither hits on a consistent basis. C JOSE MOLINA was acquired for his defense much more than his hitting. DH LUKE SCOTT can also play some 1B when slugger CARLOS PENA, who is returning to Tampa after hitting 28 homers for the Cubs in 2011, needs a rest. |
STARTING PITCHING: DAVID PRICE was a little more hittable than in 2010, but he increased his already-high strikeout rate while cutting back on walks. His win total should rise from a disappointing 12 last year. JAMES SHIELDS put his 2010 disaster season behind him and became a Cy Young candidate. His peripheral stats and skills weren't all that different the past two years, it was a big swing of luck. Some people are putting out the Bust Alert on Rookie of the Year JEREMY HELLICKSON. He had the league's luckiest batting average on balls in play (.217), but he improved as last season progressed. MATT MOORE may be this year's R.O.Y. after a dominant late-season call up. He'll be among the league leaders in strikeouts for years to come. WADE DAVIS is a mediocre pitcher who eats innings at the back of the rotation.
RELIEF PITCHING: KYLE FARNSWORTH looked as strong as he has in years, converting 25 of 31 saves in his first season with the Rays. He's the closer again this year, but it won't take much for him to lose that job after an unsteady last third of the 2011 season. JOEL PERALTA may overtake Farnsworth for ninth-inning duties at some point this season. Peralta was 5-for-5 on saves in September when Farnsworth was hurt, and gave up only one run in his final 21.3 innings. Possible future closer JAKE McGEE progressed nicely after a tough start to 2011. He's got potentially lethal stuff. Former Angels hurler FERNANDO RODNEY is looking to bounce back after a wild season (28 walks, 26 strikeouts in 32 IP).
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER AL PREVIEW (BALTIMORE-TAMPA BAY) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Orioles-Rays Preview* ======================
By JEFF MEZYDLO STATS Senior Writer
Baltimore (0-0) at Tampa Bay (0-0), 7:10 p.m. EDT
The Baltimore Orioles appear poised to show the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the AL East that they expect to contend for a division title again in 2013.
Looking to build on a season-opening victory, the Orioles continue their series with the Rays on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.
Baltimore snapped a string of 14 consecutive losing seasons by winning 93 games and earning a wild-card spot in 2012, but the team is only focused on the present.
"Last season is over, and everybody in the clubhouse has moved on to this year," said catcher Matt Wieters, who went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer in a 7-4 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Adam Jones had a go-ahead, two-run double and Chris Davis hit a three-run shot in the Orioles' five-run seventh inning off reliever Jake McGee, who replaced reigning AL Cy Young Award winner David Price to start the frame.
"(Tuesday) starts a long journey together, and I'm curious as everybody else to see where it takes us," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
"The season wouldn't have ended if we lost (Tuesday), and it wouldn't end if we lose (Wednesday), or if we win. That's what I keep challenging our guys about. This is a great group for staying in the moment, staying in reality."
Showalter hands the ball to Wei-Yin Chen, who went 12-11 with a 4.02 ERA in 32 starts during an impressive 2012 rookie season. The left-hander battled through fatigue, posting a 5.34 ERA over his final 10 regular-season starts and going 0-4 in the last seven, but he allowed one earned run in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 2 of the division series.
"I feel stronger this year," Chen told the Orioles' official website during spring training. "I feel really good about the season."
Chen went 1-3 in five starts against the Rays but had a 2.97 ERA. His teammates scored four runs with him on the mound in those contests.
Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist hit .467 (7 for 15) with a home run against Chen.
Zobrist went 2 for 3 with a homer and two RBIs on Tuesday for the Rays, who have won at least 90 games in three straight seasons and four of five.
"I think we did a lot of really good things (Tuesday)," manager Joe Maddon said. "Our defense was fantastic. ... David getting through six innings without having his best stuff and coming out of the game at 100 pitches with a 3-2 lead. ... Those were nice things. They just got us in one inning."
Scheduled Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson was sixth in the AL last season with a 3.10 ERA, but he finished 10-11 despite going 4-0 through his first eight starts. A big reason for the sub-.500 record was his 3.86 average runs of support, third-worst in the league.
Hellickson, though, completed seven innings only six times in 31 starts.
"That's what I want him to learn how to do, get deeper into games, how to get deeper into games, how to utilize your pitches to do that," Maddon told the Rays' official website.
The right-hander went 2-2 with a 2.38 ERA in six starts against the Orioles in 2012.
Three of Jones' nine hits in 28 at-bats versus Hellickson have left the park. Davis, 5 for 15 against him, has homered in seven of his last eight regular-season games overall.
|Last Updated: 9/3/2014 1:48:45 AM EST|