The Orioles were able to pull one win out of the bag against Oakland in this series by winning 6-1 yesterday afternoon. I suppose it wasn’t a case of the O’s stumbling into a win by any means, they earned this game by outplaying Oakland. The play that set a trend for the remainder of the game was a Yoenis Cespedes single in the second inning, which he tried to stretch into a double. Orioles’ left fielder Lew Ford (who had been called up from Norfolk, and hadn’t seen action in the big leagues since September of 2007) made an A-List throw to second baseman Omar Quintanilla, nailing Cespedes at second base.
We’re probably looking at a totally different ballgame if that play goes differently. Then again maybe not; Adam Jones’ double scored Quintanilla in the third to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Matt Wieters then did the rest of the work by clearing the bases with a three-run home run. That seemingly broke Wieters out of a 1-for-31 slump; or at the very least it showed some signs of life in his bat. Having Wieters break out would definitely be something that would help the O’s right now, because they’re desperate for offense that consistently produces at the plate. After J.J. Hardy scored on an error, Omar Quintanilla got into the act in the sixth inning with a solo homer onto the flag court in right field.
I’m not sure which was the bigger story yesterday; the Orioles’ offensive production or Wei-Yin Chen. To say that Chen was in a zone would be an understatement. Chen struck out 12 Oakland batters, which is noteworthy for two reasons. First off, he broke Chen-Ming Wang’s record for strikeouts in a game (previously 10) for a Taiwanese pitcher. The Orioles flashed that feat on the scoreboard in the sixth inning when he broke the record, prompting a standing ovation from the Camden faithful. Once he struck out his 12th hitter overall he obtained the mark of the most strikeouts by an Oriole pitcher since Erik Bedard struck out 15 in 2007. Chen commanded his fastball on both sides of the plate, which in turn opened up avenues for his to use his off speed pitches effectively. Of course the drawback for striking out 12 is that you have to throw a minimum of 36 pitches; in other words it drives up your pitch count, netting Chen 108 pitches in 5.2 innings. However 12 strikeouts are 12 strikeouts.
The Orioles now hit the road hoping to find themselves in a sense. However that will be easier said than done, as the first stop on the road trip is New York. Further compounding matters is the fact that New York comes into the series on a two-game losing streak after dropping two-of-three to Boston over the weekend. The good news for the Orioles is that not only did New York play the Sunday night game last night, but it went to extra innings. So while the O’s had to travel they have a few hours’ rest more than their opponents tonight. The Birds will send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound off of the worst start of his career. Gonzzlez will be eager to prove that his seven run over two and two-thirds of an inning outing last time out was a mirage. Easier said than done against the Bronx Bombers. Gonzalez will be opposed by NY’s Freddy Garcia. While Garcia struck out seven hitters in his last start, he ended up a tough luck loser. He also has a 5.16 ERA on the year, so he can be scored upon. Hopefully the Orioles don’t let him off the hook tonight.
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