I am not sure when I’ve seen an Orioles game where the starter had such nice stuff as Jason Hammel had this evening in the Bird’s 3-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. His final line was only 4 hits and a walk over 7 scoreless innings (with 7 strikeouts). And it could have been better were it not for Wilson Betemit at 3rd base and the Ump at 1st base. Errors in the 1st and 2nd innings cost Hammel 7 extra pitches, with a bad call at 1st costing him 7 more pitches to escape a bases loaded situation.
So many of Hammel’s pitches were spot-on … some just exploding inside with late movement, others with a tight spin and nasty drop. This is the way to pitch; this is what it’s supposed to look like! Remember also his first start in Baltimore this season where he took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. His ERA now is 1.73.
Of course, Hammel is a part of what came to the Orioles through the Jeremy Guthrie trade, along with Matt Lindstrom. I understand that Hammel’s and Guthrie’s career numbers are rather the same, but I sure don’t remember Guthrie (whom I liked) throwing anything like what was seen tonight. And Jeremy is not doing it in Colorado this year either. Right now he has a record of 2-1 in his 4 games, but his ERA is 5.92 with a WHIP of 1.44.
The Guthrie trade also paid off for the Orioles in the 8th inning, with Lindstrom taking down the Jays 1-2-3 on a mere 12 pitches. I would have brought him back in the 9th.
Rather, Pedro Strop was brought on to close the game for the 2nd consecutive evening. I’m always a bit creeped-out when managers do this. Every time you make a change, you risk bringing in a guy who might struggle … so I’d rather see the manager stick with the current hot hand. And sure enough, the Jays opened the 9th with back-to-back singles – bringing the tying run to the plate. But a fly to center by Encarnacion and a double play grounder by Lawrie ended the game.
Timely hitting helped the Birds tonight with solo homers by Betemit and Davis, and an 8th inning RBI double by Jones. It was good also to see Reynolds get a couple of hits.
Now the Birds need to get Jim Johnson healthy and back with the team and Reimold in that leadoff spot tomorrow night. Why not sweep the series?
This was a good win – the kind of win that good teams gain.