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2021 Series #18 | Indians @ Orioles | June 4-6, 2021

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Wham with the Right Hand

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The Indians hit the road for a weekend series at Camden Yards against the last place O's, who have lost 21 of their last 25 games after starting the season 15-16. They won their last two against the Twins to stop a 14-game losing streak. However, 14 of their last 21 losses have come against Boston, New York, Tampa, and the White Sox. The O's have played the fourth most difficult schedule according to powerrankingsguru.com. It sucks to be in the same division with the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and Jays.

My guess is they're not as bad as their record.

They rank 12th in the A.L. in scoring at 3.84 runs per game. The Indians are at 3.98, so don't expect too many runs this weekend. However, ESPN ranks Camden Yards as the seventh best park for hitters with a park factor of 1.23 where 1.00 is neutral.

The O's pitching staff ranks 14th in ERA (4.91), 13th in WHIP, and last in home runs per 9 innings. Camden Yards is the second easiest park to homer in so we may see some long balls this weekend.

FanGraphs has the Orioles with a wRC+ of 94 compared to 86 for the Tribe, for what it's worth.

Trey Mancini is their big gun offensively, hitting .284/.874 with 44 RBI in 54 games. He's on a roll, hitting .320/.993 in May. He also hits .323/1.059 at home, so they might want to pitch around him when possible. However, he's hitting .261/.780 against RHP so most of his damage has been done against lefties, of which he may not see any this series.

Cedric Mullins has a line of .298/.838 but only 14 RBI's. He hit .255/.732 in May after hitting .337 in April, so he's cooling off.

Freddy Galvis has a line of .244/.785 but hits only .226 against RHP's. Other than these three nobody is having much of a year with the bat.

Tonight J.C. Mejia gets his first big league start against lefty Keegan Akin, a 26-year-old with a total of 40 big league innings. Akin has pitched 15 innings this year and will be making his second start of the season. He has no record and a 4.80 ERA, allowing 17 hits but only 3 walks in those 15 innings. In his first start he held the White Sox to one run in 4.2 innings, throwing 94 pitches.

Tomorrow it's Civale against another lefty, John Means. This is not a good time for Reyes and Luplow to be out. Means is 4-1, 2.05, having an All-Star season. Opposing hitters are batting .173 against him. He no-hit Seattle a few starts back. However, he's shown a few cracks lately, allowing 9 earned runs in his last three starts covering 18.1 innings.

Sunday it's TBD vs. right-hander Jorge Lopez, who has a career mark of 10-23, 5.90. This year he is 1-6, 5.29. He's hard on lefties who are hitting .205/.681 against him. Lopez was awful in April with a 7.48 ERA but has righted the ship in May with a 3.68 ERA in six starts. He's been pitching well lately.

On the surface you would think this is a soft spot in the schedule but the Birds are better than their record and they won their last two games. Means is very good and Lopez pitched well in May. Akin has mainly been a reliever but in his first start held the White Sox to one run pitching into the 5th inning. This could be a close, low scoring series decided by home runs as both teams rely heavily on the home run to score and this park is almost the easiest in baseball to homer in.

My suggestion, other than for the Indians' pitchers to not leave anything in the middle of the zone, is to run a lot. The Indians are second in the majors in stolen base percentage at 85.3%. They don't score a lot of runs. They almost never get three hits in the same inning. They need to run a lot more. It puts pressure on the pitcher and gets runners into scoring position to where a hit gets you a run. The O's are starting two lefties which will make it more difficult but the Indians can't stand around waiting for a home run or a slew of hits, especially with Reyes out. They need to force the action.
 
Very good analysis. Thank you! I'm eager to see Mejia as a starter, and I have a gut feeling that this will be a breakout weekend for Owen Miller.
Hmmmm... what makes you believe Owen Miller is at the precipice of a breakout weekend?..

...matchups?..

...numbers too good in the MiLB's to be a .125 hitter?..

..other?
 
Hmmmm... what makes you believe Owen Miller is at the precipice of a breakout weekend?..

...matchups?..

...numbers too good in the MiLB's to be a .125 hitter?..

..other?
Orioles
 
Hmmmm... what makes you believe Owen Miller is at the precipice of a breakout weekend?..

...matchups?..

...numbers too good in the MiLB's to be a .125 hitter?..

..other?
Too good a hitter in the minors to be hitting .125 plus two left-handed starters this weekend. I don't expect him to "break out", in fact, I don't even know if he'll be in the lineup, but he's had a chance to get his feet on the ground and I'm hoping to see him start making some hard contact.

Sunday is Bieber's day to pitch but for some reason they're holding off on announcing the starter. Civale was originally supposed to go tonight but they moved him back and put Mejia in there. It looks like they really want to see what Mejia can do with a start. Eli Morgan was originally announced as the Weds starter but was replaced by Mejia. With the rainout they could have skipped him but decided to move him to Friday.

Are they thinking about using Hentges or Morgan on Sunday and have Bieber pitch Tuesday against the Cardinals on seven days rest?
 
After two days to catch their breath, and now facing a bunch of lower level teams the rest of the month, the entire team has a chance to reset...not just Miller.
 
Too good a hitter in the minors to be hitting .125 plus two left-handed starters this weekend. I don't expect him to "break out", in fact, I don't even know if he'll be in the lineup, but he's had a chance to get his feet on the ground and I'm hoping to see him start making some hard contact.
It seems pretty clear that the game 'sped up' for Miller and he needs it to 'slow down' when he's at the plate. The sooner the better.
 
I'd read Bieber was being held back for a Tuesday start against the Cardinals.
 
I'd read Bieber was being held back for a Tuesday start against the Cardinals.
I can get behind giving Bieber some extra rest but I struggle with the idea of holding him back from an AL opponent to see a NL opponent in an NL park & needing to bat. Personally I would want an extra bat or 2 on the bench to deal with the double switches and extra pitch hit opportunities being in an NL park..

The Tribe might be better off going a full time thru the rotation without pitching Bieber then putting him in harms way with a bat.
Anyone else recall the broken finger suffered by Jaret Wright (IIRC vs NL Houston when he tried to bunt)???
 
It seems pretty clear that the game 'sped up' for Miller and he needs it to 'slow down' when he's at the plate. The sooner the better.
since some have made loretta his comp - right now he has about 20 PAs fewer than loretta had in his first time in the bigs - the second time and second season, loretta had 170 PAs - the third time and third season, he stuck -- that seems a much more realistic scenario for miller than to think he would keep raking like he did in columbus - and i'm glad to see the process has begun
 
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I'd read Bieber was being held back for a Tuesday start against the Cardinals.
On one hand, moving Biebs back to Tuesday gives him two extra days off. On the other, it means he gets one less start before the break.
 
Ten of the next 15 games are against Baltimore (19-37) and Pittsburgh (21-34). They also have two games against the Cardinals (31-26), with Bieber possibly starting one, and three games at home against Seattle (29-29). The Tribe has a chance to pick up some ground on the Sox, who play 10 of their next 16 against Toronto, Tampa, and Houston.
 
well.. that's a nice start to the start for JC...9 pitches.. three outs.. nothing hit hard.. a nice start indeed..
 
Well boys tell me about Mejia obviously I’m aware generally where he’s been in prospect rankings but what kind of pitcher is he? Looks like he loves the sinker. Watching all of an inning so far there is a LOT of movement on his pitches. Me likey
 

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