What was yesterday’s term; more cowbell? I guess it’s worth mentioning again; the Orioles were shutout for the second straight game in NY, and furthermore this was the fourth straight shutout involving the O’s. They shut out Atlanta on Saturday and Sunday, and now the tables have been turned against the Mets. In fact, after Sunday’s game Buck Showalter said that at some point it would probably happen to the Orioles (being shutout twice in a row) along the way as well. Maybe moving forward he should try to indicate that the Birds will score again at some point!
For the second straight game the O’s got halfway decent starting pitching. However again for the second straight game the starting pitcher (Tommy Hunter in this case) made a few bad pitches that cost the Orioles the game. On statistical oddity; Hunter was charged with all five runs in the Orioles’ 5-0 loss. In the case of the fifth run, the runner that crossed the plate was put on by Dana Eveland. The final base runner for which Hunter was responsible had already been erased, yet he was charged with the run on a base runner that Eveland allowed to reach base. Either the official scorer made a mistake, or there’s an obscure rule of which I’m not aware.
It’s unfair to even mention a “key play of the game” when the Orioles went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and failed to put a run on the board. If you don’t score you have no shot at winning; at least if you put up one run you have a slight chance! However with the O’s trailing 3-0 with runners at the corners and one out Andres Torres hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Wilson Betemit. Why Betemit didn’t automatically start a 5-4-3 double-play might well be a fair question to ask. Betemit had just come into the game at the hot corner as part of a double-shift by manager Buck Showalter that involved Dana Eveland entering as the pitcher. The runner Quintantilla broke for home, and for whatever reason Betemit decided to get him into a rundown. Unfortunately the first throw to catcher Matt Wieters was a bit low…ultimately they got Quintantilla out, but not before the other two runners were allowed to get into scoring position. Jordany Valdespin hit a single through the middle to score both runners. Betemit got his out, but who really won that rundown?
In fairness to the Orioles, not many teams would have gotten much off of Johan Santana last night the way he was pitching. Generally when teams are shutout most people take the stat line at face value and thus out of context. If you put it back into the context of Santana pitching his A game, that makes a difference. You still come out on the short end f the stick, however it’s tough to score runs against a guy like Santana when he’s really on his game as he was last night.
The Orioles will attempt to salvage a game in the Mets’ series tonight as Brian Matusz heads back to the mound. Matusz of course is coming off of a start in Atlanta on Friday which appeared to have some promise but where he gave up a late homer that put the Braves over the top. That seems to be a motif of late with the Orioles in that their starting pitching makes one or two bad pitches or bad decisions and that ends up being the game. I’ve been really impressed with Matusz’s curve ball of late, so I wouldn’t mind seeing him drop a few of those into NY hitters. Matusz will be opposed by NY Mets’ starter Dillon Gee, who’s coming off of a loss to the Reds which included an inside-the-park home run. Gee will allow base runners but he’s also good at minimizing the damage. Incidentally, this is the Orioles’ final interleague series on the road, which means that Brian Matusz (or any Oriole pitcher for that matter) will be swinging the bat for the final time in 2012. The Birds of course head home after the game tonight for one final interleauge series this weekend against the Washington Nationals at the yard.
Follow me on Twitter @DomenicVadala