Across the Diamond
Baltimore is crushing the ball to a tune of a team 154 wRC+, 20 points higher than the second place Cardinals. Adam Jones, who’s been dealing with some injuries, and Matt Wieters are really the only regulars who haven’t had a good start to the year.
Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Jonathan Schoop, Mark Trumbo, and J.J. Hardy have all had strong starts to the year, with wRC+’s ranging from 238 and 153. They’re even getting contributions from rule five draft pick, Joey Rickard, and Nolan Reimold. Up and down the lineup, they’re hitting the ball well, and their offence has carried them to a great 8-3 start.
Their staff has pitched well to start the year, putting up a 3.84 ERA to go along with a 3.18 FIP which puts them in the 7th spot across the entire league, but that number has largely been driven by the work of their bullpen. Yovani Gallardo, Chris Tillman, and Vance Worley have had rough starts, with ERA’s of 5.63, 5.11, and 5.06 respectively.
Ubaldo Jimenez has had a nice start with a very good 10.50 K/9 to go along with a solid 3.00 BB/9. It’s obviously very early, so we’re dealing with very small samples, but he’s been the only real bright spot in their rotation. Their ERA from the rotations sits at 5.14, compared to the Jays number of 3.44.
However, their bullpen has been dominant early on. Zach Britton, Michael Givens, Brad Brach, and O’Day all have K/9’s above 12, including a 20.65 number from Givens. As a whole unit, their bullpen ERA sits second in the league with a 2.03 mark, nearly a run and a half below the Jays mark of 3.44.
It’s an interesting start to the year for the Orioles, who have the ability to get leads and keep them with their deep bullpen, while also having the firepower to make up for lackluster performances in their rotation.
The Jays offence has sputtered out of the gate, but some of the guys who got off to horrible starts have begun to show signs of turning it around. Russell Martin, Kevin Pillar, and Edwin Encarnacion began finding their groove in Boston, while Donaldson and Bautista continue to have terrific starts to the year. I can’t help but think that the matchups of Wright, Jimenez, and Tillman are excellent ones for the Jays lineup, and that this could be the series where they breakout.
Stroman is a good matchup against the Orioles due to his ground ball tendencies but the same can’t be said for R.A. Dickey and Marco Estrada, so the offence will need to be good for the Jays to contend with the O’s offence that’s smashing the ball.
Next: Game 1: Stroman and the Orioles are reunited