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Apr 14, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (26) takes the ball from starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen (16) in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Rays 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: A Balanced Team Victory Over the Tampa Bay Rays

 

With a 7-1 victory Monday evening over the Tampa Bay Rays, the Baltimore Orioles displayed the balance of offensive production, solid defense, and efficient pitching that Birds’ fans hoped to regularly see this season.

If the first thing I told you about an Orioles game is that the three outfielders were a combined 0-for-13, you would not expect to hear that the Birds won. But that is what happened Monday night. The rest of the lineup produced 13 hits, including three each from J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters. The Orioles cranked five doubles and on defense turned three slick double plays of the 4-6-3 variety. Steve Lombardozzi is looking very comfortable at second base.

But even more encouraging than the offensive production was the pitching performance of Wei-Yin Chen. The Rays did not get a hit until the 5th inning, and Chen went a total of 6.1 for the victory. After a good start from Bud Norris and the lights-out performances of Chris Tillman, perhaps the Orioles’ rotation is taking shape.

Additional confidence in the starters could be deposited in the fans’ trust account on Tuesday night with a good showing from Miguel Gonzalez. After getting pretty much shelled by the Tigers in his first outing (7 runs, 9 hits, 3.1 innings), Gonzalez did put up a quality start against the Yankees in his second game – giving up three runs in six innings.

However, there is not a great deal of confidence and security to be gained from Gonzalez’ career numbers against the Rays. He is 2-6 over 11 starts with a 4.90 ERA. Even so, the batting average against is .239, which is not bad at all. Combine all of this with a WHIP of 1.25, and clearly he has lost some close games with poor run support … but lots of pitchers could say that about their lifetime experiences against Tampa Bay.

The matchups of Rays hitters against Gonzalez is not too bad either. Longoria is 5-for-15, though Chen has kept him in the yard. However, Desmond Jennings has taken Miguel over the fence three times in his four hits over 18 at bats. But then again, Ben Zobrist is only 2-for-19, and not many pitchers can say that.

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

Desmond Jennings

18

4

0

0

3

6

3

4

.222

Ben Zobrist

19

2

1

0

0

1

2

4

.105

Matthew Joyce

13

2

0

0

0

1

5

2

.154

Evan Longoria

16

5

0

0

1

1

2

3

.313

Yunel Escobar

14

4

1

0

0

1

2

1

.286

James Loney

14

3

0

0

0

1

0

2

.214

Jose Molina

12

4

0

0

1

2

1

0

.333

Wil Myers

6

1

0

0

0

0

0

2

.167

 

The Orioles will be facing another young Rays pitcher in Jake Odorizzi on Tuesday night, that is, if the weather allows. And again, that is, if Odorizzi is healthy. Reports are that an illness may put him out of action, and Enny Romero was scratched from his AAA start to be possibly called upon.

The Orioles have practically no track record against Odorizzi, as he has only ever pitched 3.2 innings against the Birds. David Lough is 1-for-2 and Nick Markakis 1-for-1. Adam Jones has struck out both times against him.

In Ororizzi’s two starts this season, he has had two varied experiences. In his first outing against the Rangers, he shut them out over six innings with only three hits; but in his second start against the Royals, he was lit up for seven runs on 10 hits over five innings.

The weather forecast looks really bad for Tuesday night … the stinking rain (and even snow later)!  Not only will it mess up baseball, it prevented us from seeing the blood moon!

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Miguel Gonzalez Wei-Yin Chen

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