Orioles' Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez in line to start Games 3 and 4 vs. Royals

(Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY…)
October 11, 2014|By Dan Connolly | The Baltimore Sun

Orioles manager Buck Showalter isn’t announcing his starters for Monday and Tuesday yet.

But assuming neither one is needed out of the bullpen Saturday, left-hander Wei-Yin Chen will start Game 3 and right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will pitch Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals.

Right-hander Bud Norris gets the nod for Game 2, partially because Chen has fared much better against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium than at home -- he has a 4.17 ERA in six starts overall, but a 2.84 ERA in two starts in Kansas City.

And Norris has been great at home. He set a single-season record at Camden Yards (minimum 10 starts) with a 2.44 ERA in 81 home innings. He also won eight of his 10 decisions in Baltimore this year.

Plus, Showalter said, Norris is close to regular rest -- just one extra day -- and so there’s no reason to disrupt two pitchers’ schedules. Chen, traditionally, thrives on extra rest anyway.

** Caleb Joseph will start Saturday behind the plate. He’s in an 0-for-33 hitting slump, but he threw out 40 percent of would-be base-stealers in the regular season and that could be key in Game 2.

Norris fields his position well and has a good pickoff move, but he isn’t as quick to the plate as right-hander Chris Tillman, Showalter said. So Joseph will provide a little more protection against Kansas City’s vaunted running game.

Catcher Nick Hundley threw out the only attempted Royals base-stealer, Jarrod Dyson, on Friday, but Dyson would have been safe. Instead, he slid through the base and rookie second baseman Jonathan Schoop held the tag to get the out.

** Showalter said he believes most of his relievers will be available Saturday with the exception of one pitcher. He wouldn’t mention the player’s name, but the most likely candidate to get a day off is rookie Kevin Gausman, who threw 1 2/3 innings Friday and isn’t accustomed to pitching on back-to-back days.

** If you want a silver lining about dropping Game 1 at Camden Yards on Friday, here’s this nugget: The Orioles have not lost consecutive home games since June 28 and June 29 this year.

** Here are the lineups:

Orioles

Nick Markakis RF
Alejandro De Aza LF
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Steve Pearce 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Caleb Joseph C
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Bud Norris RHP

Royals

Yunel Escobar SS
Nori Aoki RF
Lorenzo Cain CF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Billy Butler DH
Alex Gordon LF
Salvador Perez C
Omar Infante 2B
Mike Moustakas 3B
Yordano Ventura RHP

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