- Justin Masterson and Chris Tillman face off tonight at 6:05 Central.
- John Lackey takes on Ubaldo Jimenez, late of the disabled list, tomorrow at 3:05.
- Lance Lynn vs. TBA (likely Kevin Gausman, possibly Bud Norris) Sunday at 12:35.
Centerfielder Adam Jones is putting up Adam Jones-like numbers once again with a 116 wRC+ and 21 dingers. He even has his K% down a touch, although his BB% is down as well.
First baseman Chris Davis is very much not putting up Chris Davis-like numbers. At least not 2013 Chris Davis numbers. After terrorizing the league last season with a .286/.370/.634 line good for a 169 wRC+ and winning the home run title with 53 Crushes, his offensive production has disappeared. He suffered an oblique injury in April and might still be affected by it. His line is down to .196/.307/.389, 91 wRC+ and BABIP has not been his friend (.251). He's still getting the occasional ball out of the Yards with 18 home runs thus far.
With catcher Matt Wieters' best season to date cut short by Tommy John surgery, the Orioles have relied on the 1-2 punch of Nick Hundley and rookie Caleb Joseph to fill the gap. Neither of which is Matt Wieters. Joseph, who has been getting the bulk of playing time lately, is an excellent defender, throws out a lot of runners, and has been hitting a little more lately to boot.
Rookie Jonathan Schoop (pronounced Scope) has promising power for a second baseman, but hasn't shown it yet. He's having a tough rookie year, with a 61 wRC+ for his trouble. A free swinger with a high whiff rate.
Manny Machado has had... an odd season. Machado started the year on the disabled list recovering from reconstructive surgery to repair the damage done when he tore apart his left knee in the last week of 2013. (It was ugly.) In June he roused the ire of the Athletics, first by getting a little upset on this fairly innocuous tag at third by Josh Donaldson and then a couple of games later when he flung his bat down the third base line near Alberto Callaspo after getting nearly, but not quite, plunked twice by Fernando Abad. BUT he can still do this and this and THIS at the hot corner while putting up solid offense.
Nelson Cruz has been a nice pick-up for the Orioles, giving them some needed power. He's still a lousy outfielder, but he spares the Baltimore faithful from watching that about half the time by leaving his glove in his locker and becoming a "designated hitter". Weird. He looked like a possible MVP candidate in mid-June, but since June 12 his line has been a disappointing .204/.270/.360 with a .211 BABIP.
With the lineup and rotation much more settled, the big question for the Cards going into this series will be who takes their hacks at designated hitter. It seems likely the outfield carousel will be utilized here to give Matt Holliday and possibly Oscar Taveras half days off at the half-position. One wonders when Matt Adams will get a breather now that Allen Craig has been sent east.
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