I’m not sure which is bigger news to be honest with you. Probably that the Orioles won. If I’m not mistaken, ESPN ran a “Breaking News” story last night about the game just like they did today after the earthquake hit. Well, maybe not, but they probably thought about it.
Last night was a really good game all around. I knew it would be a good game because both teams are terrible so that was a plus. Britton was wonderful. He did even better than my prediction (7 innings, 2 or 3 runs, a few strikeouts). Although he only pitched 5 innings, he gave up 6 hits and only 1 run while walking 4 and striking out 4. He got back to the old, good Britton by getting ahead of batters early, hitting the corners of the plate instead of the middle, and getting the big out when he needed too. For example, in the bottom of the 3rd, he gave up a single and a double followed by an RBI groundout to score the only run he gave up. He then gave up consecutive walks to load the bases with 2 outs but got Jim Thome to fly out. Again, he faced trouble in the bottom of the 5th when he gave up a double and a walk to bring Thome to the plate again. However, he froze him with a screaming fastball to strike him out.
After Britton left, it was the bullpen’s job to win the game and boy did they come through. The pen has been really good the past few games and it was no different last night. After Chris Jakubauskas faced some trouble, Michael Gonzalez was put in with a guy on 2nd and 3rd and threw a high fastball screamer to strike out Kubel. He then struck out the side (aka the baseball Hat Trick) in the 8th. Kevin Gregg came in to the 9th, which I thought the game would be lost at that point, but he pitched a perfect inning (including 2 loud outs, hard, long fly balls) to get the save.
Like I said, it was a great game all around and that includes the offense. The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the 3rd after Ryan Adams hit an RBI single to score Andino. In the 5th, with the score tied at 1, J.J. Hardy hit his 24th home run of the season. Since the All-Star Break, the Orioles lead the league in home runs with 48. That’s great so why aren’t they winning more games? Oh yeah, that little thing called pitching. It’s also super annoying that a huge amount of the homers are solo shots. In the 6th, Wieters added to the lead with his own solo home run. The last run came on an RBI double by Markakis to score Hardy in the 7th.
With that, the O’s have the advantage and momentum in this series as they take the first game of four. Tonight, Alfredo Simon (3-6, 4.68) takes the mound. He’s coming off of 3 bad starts, 2 were losses and one was no decision. His last start, he pitched 5 1/3 innings giving up 8 hits and 6 runs, including 2 homers. He desperately needs another solid outing like when he was first moved to the rotation and maybe after Britton’s win last night, he’ll do the same. The O’s will be facing Brian Duensing (8-12, 4.75). He’s in the same bought as Alfredo as he hasn’t won a game in August yet and is coming off of 4 straight losses.
I’m feeling good about tonight’s game. I think Alfredo goes 6 innings, 3 runs, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks and gets the no decision but O’s win because the offense does well against Duensing. Go O’s!