One evening after the Baltimore Orioles had nine players contribute to the collection of nine runs, only one player even got a hit – Chris Davis, who hit his 19th home run in the second inning to account for the entire offensive production of the O’s. Oh yes, there was one other thing – a ninth inning walk by Nick Markakis that drove Jays pitcher Drew Hutchinson from the game.
Hutchinson never threw a single pitch from the stretch all night! As MASN columnist Rock Kubatko often writes (in jest), “Is that good?” One would think he is the second coming of Jon Lester against the Orioles! Though the guy is only 8-9 on the season and has been hit all over the yard in recent weeks, he was totally lights-out against the Orioles.
To take nothing away from what was an extraordinarily well-pitched game by a guy with great late movement on everything he threw, honestly, the Orioles looked like a sleep-walking outfit. We’ve seen this before on occasions when travel plans have disrupted normal day-night patterns. The O’s are fine for the first game after the journey – perhaps amped up and running on some adrenalin; but the second day after the late night travel schedule totally catches up with them.
Wei-Yin Chen was simply not sharp in this contest, though his four runs given up in five innings look a bit worse than reality. All runs were scored with two outs. The four hits by the Jays in the first inning were three ordinary ground balls that found holes and a dinker that dropped between first base and right field. Jose Bautista did smash a legit two-out bomb off Chen in the second inning.
T.J. McFarland came on to throw three innings and give up one more run. Burning him out in a game like this (a night after he pitched previously) bolsters my theory I wrote yesterday about what is to become of Ubaldo Jimenez and his pending return. Look for McFarland to be sent down to make room, though T.J. will be back with the Orioles when rosters expand.
Enough about this game that the Orioles were simply predestined from the foundations of the world to lose!
Thursday night’s series tie-breaker is a critical game for the Orioles. Winning could send the Orioles back to a five-game lead in the AL East – their best since 1997.
The O’s will look to Miguel Gonzalez (5-6, 3.76) to get them back on the winning side of the ledger. He has a career 4-2 record against the Jays with a 3.02 ERA. None of the Toronto lineup has any real record of success against him.
The Orioles will be facing J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.25). He has pitched well over his past three games, and he beat the Birds most recently on June 15 by giving up only one run over six innings. The numbers are slim against Orioles hitters, but Adam Jones is 5-for-9, with Markakis and Steve Pearce being 3-for-9. Nick Hundley is 3-for-7.
Tags: Baltimore Orioles