Probably a lot of people were surprised to see Buck Showalter pencil Delmon Young into the second slot in the Baltimore Orioles lineup on Thursday evening. I would have been had I not been doing this writing gig and researched the pitching stats of Jays starter Mark Buerlhe against Orioles hitters.
Delmon Young came into the game 17-for-45 with three homers. After two pitches from the Toronto left-hander, Young was 18-for-46 with four homers, driving in Nick Markakis who had singled.
The two runs would be half of the Orioles’ scoring for the evening on their way to a 4-2 victory in the opening game of a four-game set.
The other two runs would come, once again, from the impact of the bottom of the lineup. Manny Machado doubled out of the seven hole in the order to open the bottom of the second inning. Jonathon Schoop bunted him to third, where he would score on Caleb Joseph’s hard ground-ball single into left field.
The final Orioles run came on a pair of doubles from Schoop and Markakis – the latter being drilled off the top of the electronic scoreboard in right field.
Kevin Gausman pitched his second consecutive good start, giving up only one run in six innings. Even a casual observer of the game would be able to see that hitters have to try to anticipate a fastball on every pitch or get left in the dust, and this sets up a terribly difficult problem of having to react to any off-speed sort of pitch.
Brian Matusz pitched a fantastic seventh inning, Ryan Webb gave up a run in the eighth set up with a double by Bautista, while Zach Britton recorded the save in the ninth inning. The final two outs came in classic Orioles fashion with a double-play grounder, 6-4-3.
I do not see how Gausman cannot be continued in a starting role. This makes for a rotation of six when Miguel Gonzalez soon joins the team. Apart from a $50-million contract, the current situation would seem to argue for Ubaldo Jimenez to be the odd man out.
It will be Jimenez who pitches for the Orioles in the second game of the series on Friday night, bringing into the game a 2-7 record and 5.01 ERA. On April 13th, Jimenez gave up five runs on 10 hits in 5.1 innings in a loss to Toronto.
Ubaldo’s struggles have been well-chronicled here and in every Orioles media source. It is all about commanding the ball and throwing strikes. When he is in the strike zone, he will almost always have a strong outing.
Throwing for the Jays will be Drew Hutchinson, who is currently 4-4, 3.96 ERA for the 2014 campaign. The young righty has already had two quality starts against the Orioles, both in April—giving up just two runs in 12 innings. His two previous starts against the O’s were in 2012 with the same stat line of two runs in 12 innings.
The Orioles have cut the Toronto lead to 3½ games, and it would be great to at a minimum win 3-of-4 in this series. If Orioles pitching can continue as in the past four games with only three runs in 36 innings, cutting into the Jays’ AL East lead should certainly happen.
Looking for Orioles tickets?