SB Nation Blog
The Opponent in one sentence
The Orioles are, as we know, one of the worst teams in baseball and they also have the proud distinction of being the first team in baseball to be eliminated from the playoffs.
Red Sox 8, Orioles 5
Down. Like always. The Orioles are coming off a series against the Yankees, which for them means automatic despair this season. New York swept Baltimore to finish the season series between the two teams. The Orioles lost 17 of those 19 games. Overall, the Orioles have won just once over their last ten games.
8/16: Rick Porcello vs. Aaron Brooks, 7:10 PM ET
The beat goes on for Rick Porcello and the Red Sox as the struggling righty continues his attempt to rebound his season. Even if you, like me, believe there is virtually nothing the Red Sox can do at this point to realistically put themselves back in the pennant race, Porcello is still trying to pitch for his next contract. It’s almost certainly not coming with Boston, but it’s still nice to see World Series winners get paid, right? He’s lost a whole lot money already this year, but a nice ending might be able to get someone to believe a little bit more. Porcello has made two starts against the Orioles this year, allowing a combined nine runs over nine innings on 17 hits, six walks and six strikeouts.
As the Orioles continue to desperately look for pitching, they claimed Brooks off waivers in early July. He, well, he hasn’t been the answer. The righty, after a tough start to the year with Oakland, has pitched to a 9.41 ERA over six starts with the Orioles. Over the entire season, he has pitched 72 1⁄3 innings with a 6.35 ERA, a 6.11 FIP and a 6.82 DRA. There’s not a whole lot of positives in his game right now. He doesn’t miss a whole lot of bats, his walk rate is basically average and he has given up a ton of home runs. This will be the first time the Red Sox see Brooks this season. He features a pair of low-90s fastballs along with a slider and a changeup.
8/17: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Asher Wojciechowski, 7:10 PM ET
As for what Rodriguez has to pitch for next year, well, that’s very important for the Red Sox. Again, if we assume that 2020 is the focus at this point, Rodriguez holds a very important position. I think most of us expect some sort of improvement from both Chris Sale and David Price in 2020, but with Porcello almost certainly leaving and Nathan Eovaldi being a major unknown, Rodriguez is a crucial piece. The lefty has shown us big flashes this year and is having his best season, but he’s also reverting to old habits of late. He has an outside chance at 200 innings this year and should hit 180. A strong showing down the stretch and it’ll be hard not to feel as good as ever about him over the offseason.
Wojciechowski has bounced around the league throughout his professional career and has only pitched in the majors in odd years, oddly enough. Over that time, he has not had much success. Another midseason addition for Baltimore this year, the righty has made eight starts plus one relief appearance for a total of 44 2⁄3 innings. In that time he has a 4.84 ERA, a 5.43 FIP and a 4.83 DRA. He does miss a ton of bats so you should expect plenty of strikeouts in this game, but the flyball-heavy pitcher also gives up plenty of hard contact. The Red Sox did see him early in the year and were utterly dominated to the tune of 7 1⁄3 shutout innings with ten strikeouts, two walks and just one hit. He’ll feature a low-90s fastball, a curveball and a slider.
8/18: TBD vs. TBD, 1:05 PM ET
Neither side has announced their pitching plans for Sunday as of this writing (Thursday afternoon). Signs point towards Baltimore potentially using Gabriel Ynoa. As for the Red Sox, this could be a bullpen game.
Chandler Shepherd was designated for assignment for the Red Sox in May, claimed by the Cubs then almost immediately placed back on waivers. He eventually landed with the Orioles, where he was just called up as a long reliever.
Notable Position Players
Trey Mancini has been phenomenal for the Orioles this year as perhaps the lone bright spot on this roster. His plate discipline is about average all the way around and he combines that with big power and a whole lot of hard contact in general.
Jonathan Villar doesn’t really hit for above-average power and strikes out a little more than you’d like, but he makes up for that with great speed and good on-base abilities.
Renato Núñez is your pretty typical power hitter, jacking home runs and drawing some walks while also striking out. All told, he’s been slightly above-average overall this season.
Anthony Santander puts the ball in play a ton and does so while putting up big numbers, at least in his 60 games this season.
Hanser Alberto is the definition of an empty batting average, barely striking out but also carrying a minuscule walk rate and very little power.
Jace Peterson gets most of his value from his legs, which leads to a well below-average player at the plate.
Chance Sisco has hit well for a catcher despite striking out over 30 percent of the time thanks to solid power and an average walk rate.
Chris Davis is having another disastrous season and also just recently got into a high-profile near-scuffle with his manager. Things aren’t going great, is what I’m trying to say.
Rio Ruiz is basically Jonathan Villar except with less power and no value from his legs and also he’s just a lot worse than Jonathan Villar.
Mychal Givens has never really been able to harness his potential. He can look lights out in any given outing but overall his command just isn’t consistent enough to get the job done day in and day out.
Richard Bleier has always gotten by on soft contact and good control. This year, the control has been there but the soft contact has not.
Shawn Armstrong has had a solid go with the Orioles with peripherals better than his mid-4’s ERA.
Mark Trumbo has been out all year with a knee injury. He still believes he is going to play by the end of the year, but he isn’t sure his career will extend beyond 2019.
Alex Cobb hit the IL in April and underwent season-ending surgery in June.
Dwight Smith Jr. isn’t far off from returning from the IL, but he won’t be ready in time for this series.
D.J. Stewart has been out with a concussion but it looks like he may be activated in time for this series. We’ll see!
Josh Rogers is trying to avoid Tommy John, but it’s unclear if he’ll be able to succeed.
It’s going to be an interesting weekend weather-wise in Boston. Friday’s game should be fine, but there are thunderstorms in the forecast Saturday and Sunday. Right now it doesn’t appear to be a total washout, but some delays could be in our future.