Baltimore Orioles: Sometimes you just have to tip your cap
If any Oriole fans were salivating after seeing Justin Verlander’s performance in the all-star game, I’m sure they were put in their place yesterday. Verlander pitched eight innings and gave up four hits and no runs in the Orioles’ 4-0 loss to Detroit yesterday. Oriole bats were cold for sure, but that was due in large part to Verlander’s mastery on the mound. That’s not to say that the Orioles had to chase each and every low-and-away slider that Verlander served up, however that’s what a good pitcher can do to you.
Oriole starter Miguel Gonzalez kept the Orioles in the game, and probably pitched well enough to win the game. Gonzalez’s line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3, 5 BB, 3 K. Gonazlez served up a home run to Austin Jackson on the second pitch of the game, however he settled down nicely. However Gonzalez’s probably was not the fact that he gave up three runs; it was that the offense behind him couldn’t put anything across on Verlander. Once the other team gets the one run, the game’s over if you can’t score to keep yourself in the game. That’s the position in which the Orioles found themselves. After it appeared that Oriole bats were coming to life on Saturday, someone asked me if I was concerned that they went back into a slumber yesterday. My response was that while it’s not really a great thing by any means, I don’t think it’s necessarily a sign of bad things to come. Verlander’s just that good.
The most concerning thing in the game was another potential injury, this time to a guy that’s already filling in due to injury. Robert Andino dove for a ball in late in the game yesterday, and seemed to injure his shoulder. Andino left the game and x-rays were negative, however he’s stayed back in Baltimore as opposed to heading to Minneapolis with the team last night in order to get an MRI on the shoulder today. The O’s are hoping to avoid a DL trip for Andino, who it feels like has filled in for Brian Roberts at second base since the Kennedy Administration. Ryan Flaherty finished the game at second, however I’m not sure that’s the fix the Orioles want in the long-term if Andino’s out for an extended period of time. For the record, Norfolk second baseman Ryan Adams is already on the 40-man roster if the O’s needed to make a roster move.
There was one big bright spot in yesterday’s game, and it was the major league debut of reliever Steve Johnson. He had been called up from Norfolk (with the intention of sending him back down after the game) only because the Orioles needed an extra reliever due to the 13-inning game on Saturday. Johnson of course is a local kid (a Calvert Hall product), and the son of former Oriole and current MASN/WBAL analyst Dave Johnson. Steve Johnson’s line: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K. MASN cameras caught Johnson’s father in the stands grinning from ear-to-ear on several occasions. And why not? MASN’s Amber Theoharis probably summed it up as well as it could be summed up with this tweet, congratulating her MASN colleague for the chance to share a moment like that with his son. If I ever got “the call up” in my profession, I’d like to have a moment like that for my father.
The O’s sent Johnson back down immediately following the game, and are expected to formally recall Chris Tillman before tonight’s game in Minnesota. Tillman will make his second start of the season after a stellar outing in Seattle prior to the break. That will be tough to duplicate, however the Orioles will take just an outing that’s good enough to put them in a position to win the game. Tillman will be opposed by Scott Diamond, who came to Minnesota as an undrafted free agent. Yet he’s been a very reliable force, with a 7-3 record and an 2.62 ERA.
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