With the exception of a Rays sweep over the Blue Jays and a series win for the Red Sox over the Yankees, this past weekend couldn’t have gone any better for the Orioles.It’s not every series you visit one of the premier teams in the American League, and force them to make the mistakes. Now, the Red Sox and Rays are set to play a series of their own this week, giving the Orioles an opportunity to gain some ground before the Red Sox arrive in Baltimore next weekend.
The Orioles had trouble during the first half of the season beating up on the weaker teams, losing series’s to the White Sox, Padres, and Mariners. Now they have their first second-half series against one of these inferior teams, as a four-game series with the Royals begins tonight.
Wade Davis will go to the mound for the Royals, while Scott Feldman will be making his fourth start as an Oriole, looking for his second win. Luckily for the Orioles, they will be missing out on James Shields, the former Rays and current Royals ace, this week. Shields will be the only Royals starting pitcher the Orioles won’t see. That’s quite a shame.
Davis hasn’t been what the Royals bargained for when they traded for him this past off-season, going 4-8 this year with a 5.89 ERA. He has given up a total of 17 earned runs in his last three starts, coming against the Yankees, A’s, and Twins. In his start against the Twins, he gave up six runs on five hits with five walks in just one inning of work before being pulled.
He has also struggled mightily at home this season, going 1-4 with a 4.44 ERA. A few Orioles hitters have had some success against him in their careers. J.J. Hardy is a .364 hitter against him with 3 RBI’s, and Matt Wieters is a .348 hitter with 4 RBI’s.
All of Wade Davis’s splits point to one specific circumstance happening tonight, though the circumstance isn’t unfamiliar to Orioles fans. Of the thirteen home runs Davis has surrendered, nine have been against left-handed hitters, and five of the thirteen have been hit by the fifth hitter in the opposing lineup, the most of any lineup spot. Who is hitting fifth for the Orioles tonight? Why, Chris Davis of course.
Furthermore, nine of the thirteen home runs he’s allowed have come in the 2nd inning. Six of the home runs have come in Davis’s first 25 pitches, and seven have come in the hitter’s first plate appearance of the game. In Chris Davis’ four career at-bats against the other Davis, he has one hit. The one hit? A home run.
Put all this information together, and you’ve got Chris Davis hitting a home run off of Wade Davis in the second inning of tonight’s game. If you happen to be phoning into Las Vegas before game-time, I’d place a bet on number 38 happening then if I were you.
Meanwhile, Scott Feldman has the assignment to go against Wade Davis tonight. Feldman is 3-2 in seven career against the Royals with a 3.24 ERA. All three of those wins have come at the site of tonight’s game, Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, where he also owns a 2.72 ERA.
There are a few Royals hitters that have had moderate success in their careers against Scott Feldman. Billy Butler is a .208 hitter against him with one home run. Alex Gordon is a .400 hitter with 3 RBI’s, and former Orioles Miguel Tejada has four hits in fourteen at-bats against Feldman, including a home run.
The time has come now for the Orioles to put behind their bad ways against inferior teams. There aren’t many other better teams to get it started against than the Kansas City Royals. And given Wade Davis’s many home struggles and Scott Feldman’s road successes in Kansas City, things are looking up for the Orioles in tonight’s series-opener.