In-depth analysis of the Orioles’ wild series with the Tigers and flurry of roster moves for the July 31 trade deadline.
Game 1: 9-8 loss on Monday night (July 30)
Game 2: 8-7 win on Friday night (July 31)
Game 3: 6-2 win on Saturday night (Aug. 1)
Game 4: 6-1 loss on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 2)
What I liked:
1. The offense over the first three games – The O’s totaled 22 runs and batted .298 (31-for-104) but perhaps most impressive was the ability to rally: the O’s scored the final six runs of Game 1 and overcame a 6-0 fourth-inning deficit in Game 2.
2. Kevin Gausman’s start in Game 3 – He allowed two runs in seven innings on four hits and no walks and now has allowed two runs in 14 2/3 innings over his last two starts.
3. The bullpen – Orioles relievers combined to allow five runs in 17 2/3 innings (2.55 ERA), and it’s worth noting that four of the runs came off Bud Norris in his 2 2/3 innings in Game 1.
4. The trade for Junior Lake – The O’s on Friday announced the acquisition of outfielder Junior Lake from the Cubs for Tommy Hunter.
Lake, who is in his age-25 season, has struggled at the major-league level over the last two seasons but posted a 108 OPS+ in 2013 over 64 games with the Cubs.
Hunter, another pending free agent, had been a serviceable reliever for the O’s over the last three seasons and has gotten much better the last two years against lefties, who bashed 11 homers and slugged .535 off him in 2013.
Lake offers upside at a position of need for the O’s and is under team control for years to come. The loss of Hunter, while not nothing, was likely going to happen in a few months anyway.
What I didn’t like:
1. The starting pitching in Games 1, 2 and 4 – Very disappointing off how good the starting pitching was in the previous two series.
Miguel Gonzalez allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings on 10 hits in Game 1.
Wei-Yin Chen allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings on 10 hits (including three homers) in Game 2.
Ubaldo Jimenez allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings in Game 4.
2. The trade for Gerardo Parra – The O’s on Friday announced the acquisition of Parra from Milwaukee for minor-league pitcher Zach Davies. Parra is a pending free agent in the midst of a career season who should capably fill the black hole that has been left field for the O’s. The problem is what they gave up to get him. The O’s need all of the help they can get when it comes to starting-pitching prospects given a) the struggles of the rotation this season b) Chen’s pending free agency and c) the overall barren nature of the Orioles’ farm system. Not that Davies, a 2011 26th-round draft pick, is a blue-chip prospect, but he had a 2.84 ERA over 19 games (including 18 starts) for Triple-A Norfolk this season and was at the very least a possibility for the major-league roster this season or next. The O’s need all of the “possibilities” they can get when it comes to starting pitching, especially when you consider the injury issues for prospects like Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey.
3. The implications of two other roster moves announced on Friday – In addition to the trades for Parra and Lake, the O’s also designated Norris and Chris Parmelee for assignment.
Norris has been the biggest disappointment on the O’s this season. He went from a 106 ERA+ over 28 starts in 2014 to a 57 ERA+ over 18 games (including 11 starts) this season, during which he was removed from the rotation in June. He has cost himself millions of dollars given his pending free agency.
Parmelee hit three homers over his first two games with the O’s in mid-June but batted just .182 (16-for-88) and totaled just three walks after that.