Game Three: June 19 – 1:35 pm ET
Marcus Stroman (6-2, 4.76 ERA, 3.87 FIP) vs.
To everyone’s surprise, Stroman has been the rotation’s biggest weakness this season, especially as of late, as his June ERA of 6.00 is ugly. He took a step in the right direction with his last start, going 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.
His low K/9 of 6.12, and high hard-hit percentage of 31.2% suggests that he’s relying on the sinker too much. He’s thrown it 56.28% of the time this year, and he goes to it in every type of situation. It has a lot of movement, but unless you find the edges of the strike zone consistently, MLB hitters who are sitting on a pitch, and see it in the zone, are likely to do damage. He’s fallen into a pattern of using the sinker with too much frequency, and it’s clear that hitters are sitting on it.
Even with the success of his last start, he only got seven swing and misses and still used the sinker with plenty of frequency. He’s shown the ability in the past to use his vast repertoire in a variety of fashions, but he’s gone away from that this year.
The key to pitching success is keeping hitters off balance and messing up timing. He has six pitches he’s thrown effectively in the major leagues, but he’s refusing to use all of them. The sinker is key to his success, no doubt about it, but I’d like to see him use all of his pitches more effectively moving forward.
Baltimore does not yet have a starter officially listed, but expect to see Chris Tillman on the mound who last pitched June 14th.
The right-hander has been a welcome surprise for the Orioles this season, entering this series with a 9-1 record and 2.87 ERA. Tillman is striking out batters at a career-high rate, 8.7 per nine innings, thanks to a fastball that’s seen a bump in velocity and effectiveness.