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Royals series preview: The Baltimore Orioles

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These O’s ain’t Royal

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Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

Coming off their first series win since they took out the Angels nearly a month ago, the Royals come home from Russia to face the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles own the second-best record (22-11) in the American League, a game off the pace set by the Houston Astros, despite their 3rd-order wins suggesting they’ve been over four wins more fortunate than their play on the field suggests they should have been.

The crew over at numberFire sent me their projections for the series. They read as follows:

In the first game of the series, we give the Royals a 51.28% chance to win.

In the second game, a 52.58% chance.

And in the third game, a 48.93% chance.

Our projections will update with any news that comes out up to the start of the game.

The games and matchups should look like this:

  • Friday, May 12, 7:15 PM CDT - Chris Tillman vs. Danny Duffy (L)
  • Saturday, May 13, 6:15 PM CDT - Kevin Gausman vs. Nate Karns
  • Sunday, May 14, 1:15 PM CDT - Ubaldo Jiménez vs. ?

Orioles at Royals pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP SIERA fWAR rWAR
Chris Tillman 1 5.0 4 18.2 3 13.6 0.00 3.23 5.23 5.26 0.1 0.4
Danny Duffy (L) 7 43.2 29 16 16 8.8 3.50 3.53 4.69 4.84 0.8 1.0
Kevin Gausman 8 38.0 28 15.6 19 10.6 6.63 5.26 5.23 5.12 0.1 -0.5
Nate Karns 7 35.1 36 24.3 12 8.1 4.58 4.38 3.64 3.57 0.2 0.3
Ubaldo Jiménez 7 33.2 24 16.1 20 13.4 6.15 6.47 5.21 5.40 -0.3 -0.4
Chris Young (?) 8 13.2 9 12.7 8 11.3 5.93 5.59 5.76 5.21 -0.1 -0.3

In addition to facing the Orioles mere days after Zach Britton landed on the disabled list, the Royals are fortunate enough to miss the Orioles two best starters thus far: Dylan Bundy and Wade Miley. Facing one of the best teams in baseball, it’s hard to say that two of these three matchups at least modestly favor the Royals.

Orioles position players

Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Manny Machado 3B 147 9 18 22 2 .227 .320 .477 .340 115 0.9 1.5
Jonathan Schoop 2B 121 5 17 18 0 .306 .355 .537 .377 141 0.8 0.8
Seth Smith (L) RF 75 3 15 8 1 .313 .400 .547 .404 160 0.8 0.6
Welington Castillo * C 72 1 8 6 0 .314 .333 .443 .336 112 0.5 0.7
Trey Mancini 1B/DH 75 7 9 20 0 .296 .320 .648 .402 158 0.5 0.6
Chris Davis (L) 1B/DH 135 4 15 8 0 .239 .348 .389 .325 104 0.5 0.1
Adam Jones CF 148 5 17 15 1 .263 .318 .401 .315 98 0.4 1.1
Francisco Peña C 4 0 1 0 0 .500 .500 .500 .442 186 0.1 0.1
Joey Rickard OF 43 1 5 3 0 .262 .279 .405 .294 83 0.0 0.2
Hyun Soo Kim (L) LF 50 1 5 3 0 .222 .300 .311 .277 71 0.0 -0.1
Caleb Joseph C 59 1 3 5 0 .237 .237 .322 .241 46 0.0 -0.1
Ryan Flaherty (L) IF 24 0 2 1 0 .143 .250 .143 .198 16 -0.1 -0.2
Craig Gentry OF 41 1 8 4 3 .171 .268 .286 .251 52 -0.2 -0.2
Mark Trumbo RF/DH 143 4 19 17 1 .239 .287 .358 .284 75 -0.2 -0.3
J.J. Hardy SS 122 1 7 9 0 .209 .248 .270 .231 39 -0.4 -0.4
* 10-day DL

The Orioles’ offense have slashed .253/.312/.412 with a .315 wOBA and a 97 wRC+. Their 3.5 fWAR amassed thus far is good for 19th-best amongst major-league squads. They haven’t been great, obviously, but somehow they keep winning. Jonathan Schoop has been their only offensive full-time player exceeding expectations, though Trey Mancini and Seth Smith have impressed in part-time duty. Early returns on Manny Machado would seem to point to bad luck—.220 BABIP, .086 points below his career average, despite a career-high 45.0% Hard%—playing a central role in the documentary What Happened to Manny Machado for the First Five weeks of 2017?

Given the recent postseason history between these two squads, it’s probably safe to say that this series will be a WAR.

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference.

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Poll

How will the Royals fare against the Orioles?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Royals sweep
    (44 votes)
  • 39%
    Royals take two
    (120 votes)
  • 26%
    Orioles take two
    (80 votes)
  • 19%
    Orioles sweep
    (59 votes)
303 votes total Vote Now