Sox going South due to O’s offense
Yes, the Orioles win again. Taking a 3-0 series lead as well as getting a 3 game winning streak going. This is good. This is great. This is fantastic. This is making me happy. The starting pitching was great. The bullpen was iffy. The offense was perfect, coming in times when the team needed it the most.
Let’s talk offense first for a change. Luke breaks the no-score tie in the 4th with a solo homer, his 6th on the season. The offensive story comes in the 5th inning, however. It started off with Marky Mark Reynolds finally hitting a homerun, his 3rd this season. I’m hoping this homer is going to open the flood gates of Reynolds-homeruns-ing. Felix Pie, playing in center field on AJ’s day off, triples, his 13th triple in his career. Boston Creme Pie (yes, greatest nickname every, Boston Creme for short) is so freaking fast; he just flies around the bases. He actually overran a routine pop fly during this game in center field, he ran faster than the ball was traveling in the air and he didn’t catch it. That’s how fast he is. Anyways, Andino and Roberts are both walked to load the bases with no outs.
Fun facts: B-Rob is 3rd in the league with RISP and Wieters is first in the league, hitting .900 with RISP. This is actually the best ever in April since the stat has been counted.
Back to the game…Markakis hits a base-clearing double upping the score to 5-0 and giving him 9 RBIs on the season. I am so optimistic that this clutch hit is exactly what Markakis needs to get out of his slump and to get back to his normal numbers and hopefully this can lead him to a .300+ average. Vladdy hits a pop fly to advance Markakis to third followed by a Luke Scott RBI single making the score 6-0.
One last fun fact: the team hit for the cycle in this inning: Luke got the single, Nick got the double, Pie the triple and Marky Mark the homer. The offense was in rare form tonight and let’s hope it stays this way.
By the way, as I was writing this post, it was announced that U.S. forces have killed Osama Bin Laden and have possession of his body. What a fantastic achievement for the United States of America. I love this country!
Britton got his 5th win of the season tying Justin Masterson for second in most wins in the AL. Weaver, the Angels ace, is in first place with 6. This is incredible because, remember (as if I don’t remind you of this enough), Britton wasn’t even supposed to be here. Britton went 6 innings with 5 hits and 1 run, a homer to Lillibridge, which was Zach’s 3rd surrendered home run this season (not too shabby). Britton did not have his best stuff today, but not every pitcher can pitch his best every start. It’s definitely a huge thing for him to not be pitching as well but still only giving up one run and 5 hits and getting a win. That’s pretty solid for a pitcher not pitching his best. If Guthrie, let’s say, isn’t pitching his best, he’ll give up 5-6 runs on 8-10 hits. The comparison is nonexistent; there isn’t one. Britton does run into trouble in the 6th inning: he has men on first and second following a 4-pitch walk. Lillibridge is at the plate and Britton’s pitch count is at 94, meaning he’s reaching his end. It’s a tough call whether to leave him in or not because at this point the O’s had a 5 run lead but if Britton makes one bad pitch, it’s a 2 run lead, but Showalter loves keeping confidence in his pitchers and loves to keep ’em in to see if they can work out of innings in pressure situations. Britton did this time but because of a brilliant play by Markakis. Lillibridge hit a long fly ball to as far right field as you can get without going into the stands (it was foul), but Markakis ran over and made the catch just in time to get the out. And he had a long run because he was positioned almost in center field.
In the 7th, Berken comes in to relieve Britton. He does a terrible job, loading up the bases with one out. Like I’ve said, you can’t expect every pitcher to be lights out in every game. Berken has been on his stuff this season and probably got a little too much rest. So, Jim Johnson comes in with the bases loaded. I’ve been talking about how awesome he’s been this season, but the theme of this post has been what, ladies and gentlemen? That’s right, that every pitcher can’t be great every time they’re on the mound. So, JJ walks in a run making the score 6-2. After getting an out, he lets pinch-hitter Adam Dunn hit a 2-run homer, cutting the O’s lead to 2 (the score is 6-4).
So, now that the O’s have given up their 6 run lead, this becomes a very close and important game for them. Kevin Gregg comes in in the 9th to close the game and get the save. He gives up a lead-off walk followed by a single with no outs. At this point, I was about ready to throw my remote at Gregg’s sunglasses-wearing face (why does he wear sunglasses when he’s pitching at 9:30 at night? I don’t think it helps him see better). I could just feel him throwing something right down the middle of the plate and guess who was up? Paul Konerko who was .636 lifetime against Gregg. That ridiculous average plus having 2 runners on plus having no outs plus seeing Gregg blow a few saves already this season left me getting ready to be pissed. I was readying myself for that walk-off homer. But, he struck him out! I exhaled. Alex Rios comes up to the plate and Gregg gets an extremely lucky strike out call again. The pitch was probably a good 5 or 6 inches off the plate so I’m not sure what the ump was looking at but Rios argued the call fervently causing him to get tossed from the game. At this point, Ozzie came out and I was interested as to how he would react seeing as he was coming of a 2-game suspension because of his behaviors at a game against the Yankees and “inappropriate Tweeting” (SEE, your mom and teachers were right, what you put on your Twitter and Facebook to keep you from jobs!). He came out to get Rios off the field and didn’t argue with the ump, at least noticeably to the eye of the TV-watcher. Anyways, then Pierzynski comes up and grounds out getting Gregg the save and the Orioles the win. Hey, they’re also at .500 (I told you I thought they’d get there by Tuesday, but, BONUS, they’re two days ahead of schedule) and they are now in 3rd place in the AL East and only 3.5 games back from the Yanks. See how a few games can change the standings so easily? So, we still have hope right? I doubt it, but I think there’s hope for a .500 season (or dare I say it, an above .500 season?) and there’s hope for NOT last place in the division. What more could O’s fans honestly expect and ask for at this point?