Game 23: Kansas City Royals (11-12) 2 Baltimore Orioles (12-11) 3 F/10
W: Zach Britton (3-0, 1.17)
L: Danny Duffy (1-1, 0.00) Duffy made two throwing errors in the 10th
MVP: Nick Markakis 2/5, 2 RBIs, GW RBI, 2-2 with RISP, solid game at 1B
The GOOD: Another well fought, pitcher’s duel, and that is good news for Orioles fans. First, the big piece of good on this night was that the person who played first base and batted third did a pretty good impression of what Chris Davis has done this year. Get base hits, play solid defense, and help the offense score runs. That is the epitome of Nick Markakis’ night, and what makes him the MVP.
The most surprising game has to be Jemile Weeks. Weeks was the starting DH, which may seem a bit odd. But he led off and quickly started the game with a lengthy at-bat against former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie before reaching out and singling back up the middle. Weeks later tripled, although part of that was aided by an awkward defensive play by Norichika Aoki in right field. Weeks was the only person to see more than 20 pitches for the Birds in a game that went into extras.
Wei-Yin Chen has got a few wins on nights he didn’t deserve to win so far this year. Tonight he deserved to win. Chen pitched well, didn’t leave up any home runs and had a really good off speed pitch Saturday evening. He scattered 9 hits, but only allowed the 2 runs in 7 innings, which was a lengthy start that the team needed, especially with the game going to extras.
The bullpen was also fabulous. Evan Meek made things a bit difficult in the 8th, but Brian Matusz and Darren O’Day came in and bailed him out. Tommy Hunter went a very strong 1 2/3 innings, a really good sign for him and Zach Britton came on and struck out the only person he faced, and once again had filthy stuff.
The Orioles defense was superb in this game. There were some people out of place, but you would have never known. David Lough made a few catches most left fielders won’t get to, and Nelson Cruz filled in admirably in right. Nick Markakis had to make a few tough plays and made them look easy. No errors for the Birds, and they win!
The BAD: The outfield was a combined 1/12, including three strikeouts by Nelson Cruz, a double play by David Lough when the Orioles could have took the lead in the 7th with a runner on third. Lough still appears to be off timing wise at the plate. His defense remains worth keeping him in the lineup, but when Chris Davis and Manny Machado are healthy and there is more flexibility with Ryan Flaherty and Nelson Cruz, Lough is going to have to start doing more at the dish.
I said yesterday that Jonesy looks like his timing is off as well, and I will put that again tonight. He did have an infield single in the 9th, but it was his only hit of the game. But, he didn’t strike out!
What’s NEXT: The Orioles will be back at it at 1:35 p.m. on Sunday as they try to take the series from Kansas City. Royals ace James Shields (2-2, 1.91) will take the mound for KC, and will be opposed by Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 5.40). Shields has watched his defense struggle behind him in several starts, which will be interesting for fans to follow along with tomorrow. Miguel heads into the game having not gone further than 6 innings in any start, so hopefully he can be more efficient and effective. We will also see if we can get our first home run of the series in the rubber game of the set.