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  • That's the Ticket: The Birds Return

    ~~~ sponsored by Ticket King ~~~
    OK, you can come out now. The bad weather has (mostly) passed. It’s going to be 60 degrees, one of the best young players in baseball will be visiting and Mike Pelfrey will not be pitching. That sounds like a pretty fair weekend to grab some great seats at Target Field. In fact, it sounds like a pretty fair weekend to all the Twins Daily guys, who will be attending Saturday’s game. (Say “Hi.”)

    Slogging Along
    It’s been a sluggish start for the Orioles who entered May with a .500 record, the first time they’ve started that “poorly” over the last three years. By May 1st last year, they were already five games over .500, just like they were the previous year.

    But in the AL East, it hasn’t hurt them. They are in second place in the packed division because the entire division is sluggish. As of Thursday, not a single team in the division had scored as many runs as their opponents. While the records for the teams vary between four games over to five games under .500, the run differential of all the teams are between -6 and -12. None have been good; none have been terrible.

    The same can be said about the Orioles pitching and hitting. Neither is necessarily a dire problem, but neither is quite as effective as they were last year. Last year’s offense ranked fourth in the American League with 4.6 runs per game; this year’s lineup has slipped to seventh (4.5 runs per game). Last year’s pitching was sixth overall (4.38 runs against per game) while this year’s arms have slipped to ninth (4.75 runs per game.) And remember: last year’s Orioles didn’t make the playoffs.

    The team got a mix of good news and bad news this week offensively. The positive news was the activation of Manny Machado on Thursday. The 21-year-old is a rising superstar in major league baseball, a mix of power, speed, defense and youth that might be the most coveted third baseman in baseball right now. However, on Sunday, slugger Chris Davis was placed on the DL with an oblique injury. Davis crushed 53 home runs last year, including one at Target Field. Barring a postponed game, he won’t go yard here this year; this is the Orioles only scheduled trip to Minnesota.

    Sloppy Starts
    Baltimore’s offense could use a boost because a few players in the lineup are really struggling. Twins fans might be surprised to hear that one of them is JJ Hardy, who the Twins traded to the Orioles three years ago to make room for (cringe) Tsuyoshi Nishioka. (And if you think I mentioned Nishi just so I could include this picture on the right, you could not be more correct. Let's admire it again, shall we?)

    Anyway, Hardy's hitting just .242 with no home runs and a .258 on-base percentage. He’s also been battling a hamstring strain that kept him out of the lineup last week. He should play this weekend, but hopefully his turnaround will wait until after the Orioles leave town.

    Ditto that sentiment for pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez was signed to a $50M contract this offseason to help anchor the top of the rotation. He’s been an anchor alright: 0-4 with a 6.59 ERA entering Friday’s night’s start versus Ricky Nolasco. Jimenez’s control has been brutal this year, walking seventeen batters in 27 innings. That’s also led to relatively early exits: he has yet to get more than six innings of outs.
    If you would like to see Manny Machado up close, I see row 2 and row 3 seats right be third base available for Friday’s game. Saturday you can bake in the sun for the whole game in Section 125. And on Sunday, I’d consider the $17 tickets in Section 240, so I can watch the Twins for two hours and then retire to the nearby Town Ball Tavern to watch the Wild at 3:00. All are an even better deal if you use the promo code DAILYDOUBLE, which will get you 10% off and supports Twins Daily. Whatever your needs, your local ticket supplier, Ticket King, can help.
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Lazarus's Avatar
      Lazarus -
      Nishi looks like he is asking for Divine Intervention to make him a passable player. Sadly, the response he received was "No".
    1. Kirby_Waved_At_Me's Avatar
      Kirby_Waved_At_Me -
      All those walks by Jimenez should be good news for Twins hitters. Assuming the trend of patient at bats continues, I'm hopeful the Twins can take advantage early and put some runs on the board.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kirby_Waved_At_Me View Post
      All those walks by Jimenez should be good news for Twins hitters. Assuming the trend of patient at bats continues, I'm hopeful the Twins can take advantage early and put some runs on the board.
      Yep. If Jimenez is off at all, it's not hard to see this team chasing him in the fourth inning with 5-6 walks.

      Let's hope he's off tonight.
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      Jimenez and Nolasco stats are pretty similar, so this could be a big scoring game, or a very long one.
    1. Dantes929's Avatar
      Dantes929 -
      What happened on that play? Just curious. It looks horrible but could actually have been a throw from a lower angle and headed for his glove. Could be a pop fly that is headed for his crotch. How about a little context? Funny picture either way. I never criticized getting Nishi especially when it happened. No reason his Japan numbers couldn't have translated better. Getting him wasn't the problem I had but getting rid of Hardy was. Unproven Casilla, Nishi and Valencia made for a very unstable possibility for the infield which proved to be the case.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      The look of pain on Nishi's face....priceless. I'm just glad he isn't getting his leg broken.
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