The Orioles have scored 11 runs in their first four games, including a pair yesterday in the ninth inning.
The starters have posted a 7.20 ERA in 20 innings.
Where are you most concerned?
I’m going out on a limb and saying the offense erupts this afternoon against Tigers starter Rick Porcello, who’s carrying a career 6.58 ERA in 23 games in March/April and is 1-5 with a 5.14 ERA in seven starts against the Orioles. He’s allowed 24 runs and 56 hits in 42 innings.
(By the way, Porcello’s given name is Frederick Alfred. Now, we rejoin our regularly scheduled blog, already in progress.)
Ryan Flaherty is 0-for-15 with seven strikeouts in four games. Does he sit today?
It’s not happening if shortstop J.J. Hardy remains on the bench with spasms in his lower back. Otherwise, it’s possible.
Manager Buck Showalter is fully aware that left-handers are batting .307 against Porcello over his major league career. Flaherty is 2-for-5 against him.
The Orioles can run out a bunch of guys with decent track records, including Chris Davis, who’s 4-for-12 with three home runs and six RBIs versus Porcello. Nick Markakis is 8-for-19 with a double and home run. Hardy is 6-for-15. Delmon Young is 8-for-22 with two doubles and a home run. Matt Wieters is 4-for-11 with a double. David Lough is 2-for-5 with a double.
Steve Clevenger won’t start after subbing for Wieters yesterday, but he’s 2-for-3 with a double.
On the flip side, Nelson Cruz is 4-for-20 against Porcello and Adam Jones is 3-for-18 with six strikeouts.
Would Showalter consider sitting Cruz and using Young as his designated hitter, with Lough in left field? Probably not, but I’m throwing it out there based on the numbers.
Note: Showalter told reporters in Detroit that Manny Machado performed baseball activities on Thursday, including some running, and he felt good yesterday. No issues with his left calf or knee.
Shameless plug alert: I’m appearing on “Wall to Wall Baseball” from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on MASN. Pull up a chair and watch.
I’ll post the lineup and some pregame notes, but won’t be providing updates on the game. Taking a small break.