The Orioles, after losing three of four against a streaking White Sox club, look to start something fresh as the Detroit Tigers roar into Baltimore. The Tigers lead in the series 1031-936-11 all-time. In the 2011 season, the Orioles have the upper hand with two wins to the Tigers’ one.
The Tigers, who currently are keeping ailing catcher Victor Martinez close to the chest after his sprained knee. His catching has been limited, giving All-Star Alex Avila the full-time gig. Martinez will continue to handle some of the DH role.
The Orioles have seen some bright spots over the course of a fairly disgraceful series against Chicago. Nolan Reimold hit a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th for the win on Wednesday. Shortstop J.J. Hardy has hit the elusive 20 home run milestone, and has continued to show that he’s worth the cash for the O’s.
Mark Reynolds continues to show that his juice is worth the squeeze as well. While his average still flirts with the “Mendoza line,” his 26 home runs have continued to add a spark for the Orioles, who need every push they can get.
The Orioles look to avenge their current struggles against the AL Central with a strong opener against the Tigers tonight in Charm City.
Game One: Friday, August 12 at 7:05 p.m.—RHP Brad Penny (7-9, 4.92) vs. RHP Alfredo Simon (3-5, 4.08)
Brad Penny will go for a fourth attempt to gain his eighth win of the season tonight in Baltimore against the O’s. Penny’s last start against Texas wasn’t one of his best starts. Frankly, Penny hasn’t pitched a solid outing in some time. In his last three starts, he’s given up 15 runs and only recorded four strikeouts. All three games resulted in losses for the Tigers.
Alfredo Simon’s last start against Toronto had its high points and low points. Simon only lasted 5.2 innings, giving up ten hits and six runs (four earned). Simon also surrendered a home run to the Blue Jays. Simon is an interesting case because it’s obvious that he has the stuff, it’s all about command and comfort out on the mound.
Because of the interesting matchup between a struggling Penny and a hit-or-miss Simon, I have chosen tonight’s game as my “must see matchup.” Look for both pitchers to either have their stuff going in full force, or a complete hitter’s game.
Game Two: Saturday, August 13 at 7:05 p.m.—RHP Max Scherzer (11-7, 4.33) vs. RHP Jeremy Guthrie (5-15, 4.38)
Max Scherzer will take the hill on Saturday for Detroit, and will seek his 12th win of the season. In his last start, Scherzer struck out five Royals in as many innings of work. His six hits, (including a home run) surrendered resulted in four earned runs and a loss for Detroit. Scherzer isn’t known to give up too many hits. In his last ten starts, the most hits the right-hander surrendered was just nine.
Jeremy Guthrie may just be unlucky. As one of the pitchers with the lowest run support in the league, you would think that he would step it up when given some help. His start against Chicago was not the case. The Orioles put up six runs in the loss to the White Sox on Aug. 8. Guthrie threw seven innings, giving up eight hits and five runs (four earned). It still wasn’t enough to get it done, as the Orioles fell to the White Sox after a late-inning rally.
Game Three: Sunday, August 14 at 1:35 p.m.—RHP Doug Fister (4-12, 3.37) vs. LHP Jo-Jo Reyes (5-9, 5.49)
Two outings into his career as a Tiger, after being traded from Seattle, young righty Doug Fister will make his third appearance in a Detroit uniform against the Orioles. In his last appearance against Cleveland, Fister threw two innings, yielding four hits and two runs.
Reyes made his first start as an Oriole after being claimed on waivers, against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. In that start, Reyes surrendered five hits and four runs in just four innings. He gave up two long balls and two walks. Reyes hasn’t had an extraordinary season, yet it looks as though he’s getting his second chance with Baltimore. If he can keep the pitch-count low through at least six innings, and not give up a copious amount of runs, you may see Reyes get his first win with the black and orange.
By the Numbers:
- The Orioles still haven’t won a series since the last week in June, against the Cincinnati Reds.
- Baltimore has won 7 out of the last 10 meetings with Detroit.
- Baltimore has lost 10 of their last 13 games.
- J.J. Hardy has had an RBI in seven straight games.
- Carlos Guillen enters tonight’s game in Baltimore batting .356 with 15 doubles, two home runs and 26 RBI against the O’s.