You were expecting maybe Nolan Ryan?
What the Baltimore Orioles got out of Josh Stinson‘s emergency spot start yesterday was about what was expected. Part of Buck Showalter‘s thinking may have been to throw someone at the Jays on short notice about whom they knew almost nothing, unless some of them had played in the National League during the past two years. In his previous 20 big league games, with the Mets in 2011 and Milwaukee last year, Stinson had allowed only two homers in 22 1/3 innings.
The Orioles picked him up on waivers a day or two before the appearance. So much for that. He got rocked, which is bad news in itself, but because he only walked one, Toronto’s home run barrage somehow managed not to put the game out of hand.
The Orioles fought back to tie it at 5 in the 7th inning, but of all people, Nick Markakis grounded out and left Manny Machado at third to end the inning. They left the winning run on third in the 9th. In the 10th inning, Nolan Reimold scorched what appeared to be the game-winning single to left field with Machado on second, but the ball got to a relatively shallow Rajai Davis too fast, and Machado hadn’t even reached third base yet when Davis fielded it. Machado was out by several feet at home to end the inning.
Jim Johnson, after pitching the top of the 1oth, came back out to throw the 11th, but loaded the bases and walked in the Jays’ go-ahead run. It was one too many deficits for the Orioles to overcome. It was also one too many innings for Johnson to pitch, so we probably won’t see that happen again for a while.
Moving on, it’s time for an 11-game Western swing, with tonight’s game kicking off a 4-game set in Oakland against the 13-9 A’s. Oakland is skippered by former Orioles backup catcher Bob Melvin, who played behind Mickey Tettleton for most of the Why Not? season of 1989, in addition to 1990 and ’91. There’s just one other reason Orioles fans might remember Melvin. He narrowly won the AL’s Manager of the Year award last year over Showalter.
Sunday’s final game of the series looms as an interesting matchup, as Bartolo Colón, the Dominican relic who turns 40 next month and has owned the Orioles for the better part of his career, faces (if the rotation plays true to form) Miguel Gonzalez. Colón has won only 35 games in the majors since his Cy Young-winning season of 2005 with the L.A. Angels, but three of those wins have come in this season’s first few weeks, an unlikely rebirth.
He did not pitch in 2010 due to right shoulder and elbow pain and damage to the rotator cuff, ligaments and tendons. Then last August 22, he was suspended for 50 games by MLB for testing positive for synthetic testosterone. The A’s gave him a second chance in the offseason. Left to conjecture is whether his early-season success owes itself partly to his arm being rested by the inactivity while on suspension.
Get ready to stay up late the next few nights. Jason Hammel pitches tonight.