Baltimore Orioles @ Boston Red Sox
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013, 7:10 pm
Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Nate McLouth – LF
Manny Machado – 3B
Nick Markakis – RF
Adam Jones – CF
Chris Davis – 1B
Matt Wieters – C
J.J. Hardy – SS
Ryan Flaherty – 2B
Nolan Reimold – DH
RHP Jake Arrieta (0-0, 9.00 ERA)
Jacoby Ellsbury – CF
Shane Victorino – RF
Dustin Pedroia – 2B
Mike Napoli – 1B
Will Middlebrooks – 3B
Daniel Nava – DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – C
Stephen Drew – SS
Jackie Bradley Jr. – LF
RHP Ryan Dempster (0-1, 5.40 ERA)
- Luis Ayala was traded – In the afternoon today, word was announced that Orioles reliever Luis Ayala was traded to the Atlanta Braves for minor league pitcher, Chris Jones. Jones is a 24-year-old lefty who was a member of the Cleveland Indians organization after being drafted in the 15th round of 2007, until eventually being traded to the Braves in the 2011-12 offseason for veteran Derek Lowe. Jones has pitched from the bullpen for the majority of his career, and his arsenal consists of an average fastball (velocity wise) with a good breaking ball, however he is apparently very deceptive in his delivery and is nearly unhittable against left-handed batters. The trade was made for roster purposes, as the Orioles clearly want to retain the rights of T.J. McFarland and Ayala was evidently the one to go. Duquette and Showlater have stressed the importance of flexibility on the roster, and one could expect whoever replaces Ayala will have minor-league options remaining.
- Orioles vs Ryan Dempster — Only two of the Orioles have had more than 3 at-bats against the Red Sox starter. Those two — unsurprisingly — are the Orioles who spent the most time in the National League through their career. Those two players being J.J. Hardy and Nate McLouth, Hardy has seen him the most of any Orioles (21 ABs) and has an atrocious .095 average in those at-bats. McLouth is a far more respectable .250 through his 16 career at-bats. Adam Jones is 2-3 in his career against Dempster, Markakis 1-3, and Machado, Davis and Wieters are all 0-3. So as you can see, the Orioles have a bit of a hole to climb out of on paper. Luckily, the game isn’t played on paper.
- Arrieta vs Red Sox (and himself) – The Red Sox have a career .313 average with a bulbous .930 OPS in 5 games. I can’t say if those numbers were from the bats of Red Sox traded away, however Jacoby Ellsbury has 2 HRs in his 5 ABs against the Orioles erratic righty. Really, it will come down to which Jake Arrieta shows up on the mound. At his best, he is as good as any pitcher in the league. Unfortunately, he is at his best sporadically (to be kind), and often pitches himself into the type of situations that L’s thrive in. Let’s hope that Jake Arrieta puts forth the first in a string of starts to propel him to the ranks his ability deserves.
- Ryan Dempster in the AL East – Ryan Dempster is a finesse, inning-eater who had great success in the National League as a pitcher and would consistently pitch to a low ERA. However, there was much concern as to his ability to pitch in the more hitter-friendly American League, and for good reason. Dempster was traded before the trade deadline last year by the Chicago Cubs after 16 starts to the tune of a 2.25 ERA. In his 12 starts with the Texas Rangers, his ERA was 5.09. This will be his first time facing the Orioles as a member of the Red Sox; it should be interesting to see how the Orioles welcome him to the AL East.
- Will Chris Davis start killing the ball again? – Chris had a good overall game at the plate against the Sox on Monday, as he took what they gave him for 2 walks. If he is going to be willing to take the pitches off of the plate, then they will eventually have to throw the ball over the plate if they want to get him out. It didn’t matter where the ball was in relation to the plate during Davis’ torrid stretch to start the season. Let’s see if he will be able to be selective and then jump on his pitch when it comes.
- Jackie Bradley Jr. — Jackie Bradley Jr. is essentially the Red Sox equivalent to Manny Machado. Young player who most believed had no business playing in the majors. Yet specifically, most believed had no business playing so confidently in the majors. Bradley went 0-2 in his debut, with 3 walks. The Red Sox felt that Bradley was good enough (or marketable enough) to warrant forgoing his extra year of cost control by starting his arbitration clock as a starter. I, for one, will be very interested in analyzing his performance as he is one to watch.
- Overall, this feels like an important game – The Red Sox have started this season off on a very positive note, while the Orioles are somewhat sluggish out of the gate. The birds will certainly have to pitch better, or risk falling behind in a division that figures to be very tough to dredge through. Jake Arrieta has to know that he only has so many inconsistent starts until he is replaced. It would be huge to get a good start from the hurler and put themselves in a position to win the series on Thursday.
- Daniel Nava – F%#$ you.