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Baltimore Orioles series preview: A worse team than the Royals?

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Another team that isn’t tanking in the midst of a nightmare season

Baltimore Orioles v Oakland Athletics Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

At present, the Baltimore Orioles own the worst record in the American League. Only the Cincinnati Reds have out-terribled them. The Orioles owe their status as worst team in the American League largely to the six-game skid in which they find themselves. They’ve won three fewer games than the Royals. Their lineup features two regulars with a wRC+ over 100, half that of the lowly Royals lineup.

When you can watch a series between two teams not tanking who are this bad, you kind of have to do it.

Game times and pitching matchups are as follows:

  • Tuesday, May 8 - 6:05 PM CDT - Danny Duffy (L) versus Dylan Bundy
  • Wednesday, May 9 - 6:05 PM CDT - Eric Skoglund (L) versus Andrew Cashner
  • Thursday, May 10 - 6:05 PM CDT - Ian Kennedy versus Kevin Gausman

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs

Royals at Orioles 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
Game 1
Danny Duffy (L) 7 38.1 34 19.9 15 8.8 5.63 5.62 4.86 4.63 -0.1 0.0
Dylan Bundy 7 40.2 48 27.1 11 6.2 3.76 3.68 3.85 3.45 0.9 0.4
Game 2
Eric Skoglund (L) 5 26.1 25 21.4 9 7.7 6.84 4.72 4.57 4.17 0.1 -0.3
Andrew Cashner 7 38.2 37 21.4 19 11.0 4.89 5.83 4.92 4.66 -0.1 0.1
Game 3
Ian Kennedy 7 37.0 35 21.7 11 6.8 2.92 3.57 3.94 4.09 0.8 1.0
Kevin Gausman 7 43.2 36 20.0 12 6.7 3.30 4.79 4.14 4.18 0.4 1.3

After a 2017 in which he finally started to realize some of his potential, Dylan Bundy has ramped things up this season, jacking his Ks up by 2.56 K/9 from last year (a 5.3% bump). He has also lowered his walks slightly—1.1%. He’s reintroduced a sinker, pulling primarily from his four-seamer allotment, chucking it into the mix 9.2% of the time. As has historically been the case for Bundy, the slider has been the key to his success, his second-most prevalent offering (25.7% of the time) after his four-seamer and before his curve, change, and sinker.

Andrew Cashner’s K-rates have rebounded to the respectable after a puzzling halving of his strikeouts last year. There really isn’t anything that he’s done discernibly differently from last year or the rest of his career, so it would appear that 2017 was just some bizarre outlier.

Kevin Gausman is getting the batted-ball luck that he didn’t get last year (.244 BABIP compared to .336 last year) and his strand-rate is an unsustainable 87.0%, up from 76.0% last year. With identical slight dips in Ks and walks, his K-BB% is virtually identical to last year’s mark, so he’s basically doing the same work he was last year, but his ERA is 1.49 runs lower than his FIP and 0.88 runs lower than his SIERA suggest it should be.

Baltimore Orioles position players

Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Name Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Manny Machado SS 151 9 17 27 2 .346 .430 .623 .435 176 1.8 1.8
Trey Mancini LF 140 3 17 10 0 .258 .329 .387 .315 96 0.5 -0.5
Chance Sisco (L) C 67 1 5 7 0 .203 .299 .305 .277 70 0.3 0.2
Pedro Álvarez (L) DH/1B 90 7 13 14 0 .205 .311 .500 .348 118 0.3 0.3
Jace Peterson (L) 2B 44 0 2 7 4 .179 .273 .282 .253 54 0.0 -0.2
Engelb Vielma (S) 2B/3B 8 0 1 0 0 .143 .250 .143 .197 16 0.0 0.0
Mark Trumbo DH 24 0 1 1 0 .292 .292 .375 .289 78 0.0 0.0
Adam Jones CF 144 5 10 17 0 .245 .257 .417 .287 77 -0.1 -0.7
Danny Valencia 3B 64 3 10 5 0 .214 .313 .411 .313 94 -0.2 -0.1
Craig Gentry RF 60 0 5 3 5 .179 .220 .214 .197 16 -0.2 0.0
Caleb Joseph C 64 0 2 2 0 .148 .175 .230 .178 3 -0.4 -0.5
Anthony Santander (S) OF 94 1 7 4 1 .202 .245 .315 .246 49 -0.4 -0.5
Chris Davis (L) 1B 125 2 5 9 0 .171 .264 .243 .233 41 -0.8 -0.8

There’s Manny Machado and a whole lot of terrible here. In two months, there will probably just be the terrible. In total, the Orioles position players have been worth -0.1 fWAR. Unsurprisingly, that is the worst mark in the game. When you take Machado away from that unit? Ugh. They’re slashing .222/.288/.362 with a .284 wOBA and a 74 wRC+. There’s no getting around that they’ve been ABYSMAL. The Royals have been 14 percent better than the Orioles offensively.

Poll

How will the Royals fare in Baltimore?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Royals sweep
    (57 votes)
  • 52%
    Royals take two of three
    (117 votes)
  • 20%
    Orioles take two of three
    (46 votes)
  • 1%
    Orioles sweep
    (4 votes)
224 votes total Vote Now