Mar 31, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman (30) throws in the third inning of an opening day baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Torii Hunter Sends Orioles to Fourth Consecutive Loss (Game 6 Preview)

 

The good news is that the Baltimore Orioles held Miguel Cabrera to a 1-for-4 day with two strikeouts; the bad news is that Torii Hunter drove in all five runs off Bud Norris with a bases-loaded double and a two-run homer. The good news is that the Orioles’ offence finally came awake with five runs in the 9th inning; the bad news is that it was still a run short in a 7-6 loss to the Tigers.

All the numbers surrounding the Baltimore Orioles right now are upside down. There is the 1-4 record. There is the lack of power, with only two homers so far, and those from newcomer Nelson Cruz. There is the consistent inability of starting pitchers to get past the 5th inning. And even with the opposition, Rick Porcello – notoriously poor in April and against the Orioles – gets 20 outs for the Tigers while giving up only a run on three hits.

A baseball purist would have to like quite a number of the small things done by the Detroit Tigers on Saturday. There was aggressive base running to pressure the defense, sacrifice flies, a successful ‘run and hit’ into the vacated shortstop hole, forcing deep counts from O’s pitchers, and hitting behind the runner after a leadoff double. Porcello threw one grounder after another. And even Alex Gonzalez contributed to the Tigers’ effort by getting on base with a single and walk and scoring both times.

The five-run outburst in the 9th inning will hopefully awaken the Orioles offense, as it does illustrate that the O’s are seldom ever completely out of a game. The need is for the pitching to hold them in the contest until the bats can tally the necessary runs. Unfortunately Brian Matusz allowed the two additional runs that proved to be the margin of difference. But the obvious need for the Orioles starters to pitch more effectively and deeper into games is … well … it is obvious. Come back for another article examining this … probably tomorrow.

Another day, another game – and on Sunday it only gets more difficult as the Birds will be going against Detroit ace Justin Verlander. Considered by many to be the best in the game right now, Verlander gave up two earned runs on six hits in six innings in the season opener against the Royals. The Tigers came from behind to win 4-3 with a run in the 9th inning.

Verlander’s skills may be seen in the chart below of the Orioles hitters and their history against him. Only J.J. Hardy has had some success with a .258 average and three home runs. Adam Jones is a mere 3-for-27.

PA

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

Nick Markakis

46

41

10

4

0

0

2

5

10

.244

J.J. Hardy

35

31

8

1

0

3

7

1

6

.258

Delmon Young

33

30

6

0

0

0

1

2

10

.200

Adam Jones

28

27

3

0

0

1

3

1

8

.111

Nelson Cruz

26

26

4

0

0

2

4

0

8

.154

Matt Wieters

21

19

3

1

1

1

2

2

4

.158

Chris Davis

19

17

3

0

0

0

1

2

9

.176

David Lough

12

12

2

1

0

0

0

0

3

.167

Ryan Flaherty

6

6

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

.333

 

In that each team is playing their sixth game of the season, the Orioles will counter Verlander with their own top-of-the-rotation ace Chris Tillman – who gave up one run on seven hits over five innings in the season opener. When looking at Tillman’s numbers against the Tigers, it is amazing to see that he has never faced Torii Hunter. Bud Norris wishes he had never seen him!

PA

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

Ian Kinsler

13

12

4

1

0

1

2

1

1

.333

Miguel Cabrera

11

9

4

1

0

1

4

2

2

.444

Don Kelly

10

9

2

0

0

1

1

1

0

.222

Austin Jackson

9

9

2

0

0

0

0

0

2

.222

Alex Avila

6

6

1

0

0

1

1

0

2

.167

Victor Martinez

6

6

2

0

0

0

2

0

1

.333

Rajai Davis

3

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

.000

Alex Gonzalez

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Chris Tillman

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