Granted the Orioles have been scuffling at the plate of late, but for the most part they do have some power in their lineup. However the old adage is that good pitching will generally shut down good hitting most of the time. Washington’s Edwin Jackson pitched a gem of a game last night at Camden Yards, holding the Orioles without a hit until the fifth inning of the Orioles’ 3-1 loss. Again, but Birds are struggling at the plate right now, however the fact is that they’ve run into some pretty superior pitchers of late in R.A. Dickey, Johan Santana, and now Edwin Jackson.
While Orioles’ starter Wei-Yin Chen didn’t bring his A-List game, he wasn’t rocked by any means either. I suppose my point is that it’s not as if Washington was tearing the cover off the ball either. Chen seemed to have similar issues as the last time he faced Washington when he got behind hitters early. Xavier Nady hit what was ruled an infield base hit (and an RBI) to third, and a throwing error allowed Adam LaRoche to cross as well giving Washington a 2-0 lead in the second inning. LaRoche would later homer in the fourth to close out Washington’s scoring; again, it isn’t as if the opposition managed to spray the ball all around the place.
In fairness, from top to bottom of their rotation Washington probably has the best starting pitching in baseball. They also capitalize on the nominal mistakes of other teams such as a pitcher getting behind a hitter. Having said this, the Orioles were able to mount a bit of a rally by capitalizing on the fact that Jackson was tiring quickly in the seventh inning. Adam Jones hit a line drive to left field that hit off the base of the foul pole for his 19th home run of the season. When I say a line drive, I mean that there was little to no rise on the ball whatsoever! I think the time elapsed from bat to foul pole was about four seconds. After a Matt Wieters fly out the O’s put consecutive singles on the board, which chased Jackson from the game. As former Oriole Michael Gonzalez came in to face pinch-hitter Ronnie Paulino, you kind of felt momentum starting to turn. However Gonzalez was able to induce exactly what Washington wanted, as Paulino lined out to shortstop Ian Desmond. Unfortunately for the Orioles Desmond was standing right next to second base, and he completed the double play by stepping across the bag.
So with the series tied at one game a piece, that sets up a rubber match this afternoon at Camden Yards. The worst the Orioles can do (for the season series with Washington) is tie. However an Oriole victory today would give the Orioles a win in this series as well as in the overall season series between the two teams. Jake Arrieta takes to the mound for the Birds this afternoon, of course coming off of a halfway decent start on Monday night in NY. Arrieta gave up a grand slam in the fifth which did him in, but that aside he was point for point with R.A. Dickey. Obviously when the opposing pitcher holds your teams’ bats to one hit it’s going to be tough to win. He’ll be opposed by Washington’s Ross Detweiler, who’s just re-entered the starting rotation after Chien-Ming Wang was sent to the bullpen. Detweiler’s pretty solid but he has been somewhat suspect this season, representing an opportunity for the O’s.
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