The Baltimore Orioles used shutout pitching from Bud Norris and homers from Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Ryan Flaherty to defeat the Red Sox 4-0 Monday night at Camden Yards. It was such a great evening for the Birds that even Tommy Hunter – newly off the DL – pitched the ninth inning and got three quick outs on only 10 pitches.
The key to success, as it needs to be, is excellent starting pitching. And Bud Norris had his best game of the year by far – giving up only three hits in eight innings. He had good command of all of his pitches, and it was a thing of beauty to watch for O’s fans who have endured so much of just the opposite from starters this year.
A solo homer from Jones would give the Baltimore Orioles the margin for victory in the bottom of the first inning off Sox starter Jake Peavy. The back-breaker was a two-run shot by Markakis in the bottom of fifth, while Flaherty added to the margin with a round-tripper in the seventh. These three combined for seven of the Orioles eight hits on the evening.
But my favorite O’s hit was a bunt single down the third-base line by Chris Davis. A wrong call had to be overturned for him to get credit for it, but if Crush could do this once a game for a while, he might be able to get back his season of 2013. Until Davis breaks these over-shift defenses by hitting against them, he is going to be a sub-.250 hitter.
Like many teams this year, the Red Sox have been much affected by injuries and players on the DL. Several have not repeated their “career year” from 2013, and all together this is not a very good-looking ball team as currently constructed.
Even so, we all know that rough starting pitching can make all-star hitters out of even the poorest of teams, so the Orioles will need continued efforts in the vein of what Norris gave them on Monday evening.
Game two of the series will have the scary scenario for the Baltimore Orioles of Chris Tillman headed to the mound with his 5-2 record, but 5.20 ERA. As we have asked the question on this blog several times: which Tillman will show up? The one who shut out the Royals, or the one who has twice been knocked out of a game after one inning – including the last time out? He should be sufficiently rested, having not thrown a full game’s worth of pitches in Texas.
Brandon Workman will be the pitching workman for the Red Sox. He is 0-0 with a 3.74 ERA over 21.2 innings. Opponents are hitting only .215 against him. These numbers are actually much better than his AAA stats from seven starts there, before being called up to start three recent games in the rotation.
Workman has not gone past 5.1 innings, as his high number of both walks and strikeouts make him look like a pitcher who runs deep counts.
The 25-year-old’s short career only includes four brief appearances in relief against the Orioles.