Before we go any further, Brian Matusz spent at least part of last night in a Baltimore-area hospital due to a virus that’s apparently been ravaging the clubhouse of late. This is something that’s fairly commonplace in big league clubhouses early in the season, and unfortunately it can often reak havoc on rosters, game situations, etc. However I suppose this particular case is a bit more serious if it landed Matusz in the hospital. It’s unclear as I’m writing this if was admitted and ended up having to spend the night there, however best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.
The Baltimore Orioles found themselves in a strange game last night as they opened a three-game weekend set with Toronto. The Birds had quite a few deep tags to deep parts of the ballpark, however the normally favorable Camden Yards breeze became listless at the most inopportune times possible. Both Adam Jones and Chris Davis hit what appeared to be sure home runs off the bat, only to die on the warning track. Yet as much as we talk about hitting with runners in scoring position, go figure that the O’s would end up on the wrong end of the score when they went 1-for-4 with RISP while Toronto was 0-for-2.
Chris Tillman probably did not have his best stuff, but he pitched more than well enough to win the game. Tillman’s line: 8 IP, 3 H, 2 R (both unearned), 1 BB, 6 K. That’s a pretty decent line, and the fact is that he put the team in a position to be able to win. But you’re guaranteed not to win when you don’t put any runs on the board I suppose. Tillman was also victimized by the generally sure Orioles’ defense. As rain started to fall in the top of the fourth, Jose Bautista reached base safely on a throwing error by Jonathan Schoop at third base. Folllowing a Juan Encarnacion single, Schoop would proceed to commit another error on what was rule a fielder’s choice force out of Adam Lind at second base.
The aforementioned scenario netted Toronto two runs, which is all they needed. The O’s went quietly in the last of the ninth, and game one of this series went to Toronto. The Orioles’ only real challenge of the night was in the last of the fifth, when Markakis, Young, and Davis put together consecutive singles with two outs. One would have expected Nick Markakis to be able to score from second on Davis’ ht, however he was given the stop sign with two outs and Adam Jones ended the inning with a pop fly to the outfield. (That’s where the 1-for-4 with RISP comes in.)
If his own commentary is any indication, the Orioles expect J.J. Hardy to be back in the lineup tonight as they try to even the series. The Orioles suddenly find themselves with various maladies up and down the roster, including Hardy, David Lough, and now of course Brian Matusz. Hardy’s return would give this team a big boost, that is if he’s able to play when he gets to the ballpark later this afternoon. For the record since neither of Toronto’s runs were earned last night, Tillman’s ERA actually went down to .084 – in a losing effort! Bud Norris gets the start in game two this evening, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Drew Hutchison.