It’s funny how baseball has a way of reminding us that “the game” is in charge and not us. Last week the Baltimore Orioles came from behind to out-slug Washington 9-6, followed by a 2-0 win in a pitchers duel the next night. On Wednesday the Orioles were out-slugged in Houston 11-7, only to come back yesterday afternoon to win another pitchers duel by a 3-1 score. Starter Miguel Gonzalez didn’t win a game during the month of May (he was also on the DL for part of the month), but he started June with a buzz. Gonzalez’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K. In general the Orioles would like to put up more than three runs in games, but when you get starting pitching like that you’ll be tough to beat.
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Houston had runners at second and third in the last of the first, and J.D. Martinez made a bid for extra-bases or a homer. However his shot was pulled in by Orioles right fielder Chris Dickerson, and Houston was held to only the one run on a sac fly. Chris Davis and Adam Jones opened up the fourth inning with a single and a double respectively, with Davis scoring on Jones’ double to tie the game. The Birds would then take a 2-1 lead on J.J. Hardy‘s RBI-single (following a Matt Wieters ground out which moved Jones to third base). The Birds would later add on an “insurance run” (if that’s possible in the fourth inning) with Chris Dickerson getting to third base and then scoring on a wild pitch by Houston starter Bud Norris. Incidentally, Norris matched Gonzalez almost pitch-for-pitch, however Houston bats couldn’t pick him up in a sense and he ended up a hard-luck loser.
Prior to yesterday’s game the Orioles sent reliever Steve Johnson to the 15-day DL after he strained an oblique on Wednesday night. Johnson said that it was bothering him when he warmed up, and MASN cameras caught him grimacing a few times on the mound and in the dugout. Nevertheless, the Orioles went with a short bullpen in yesterday’s series finale in Houston and they called up OF Xavier Avery from triple-A Norfolk. With Nick Markakis out attending the funeral of his grandmother, Buck Showalter felt that an extra bench player made more sense in the short-term. Avery of course never saw action in the game, and was optioned back to Norfolk following it’s conclusion. The O’s will need to make a roster move at some point before tonight’s game in Tampa, which will presumably involve a reliever. Steve Johnson will accompany the team to Tampa, at which point he’ll head to the club’s spring training facility in Sarasota to start rehabing that oblique. Jason Hammel will get the ball for the O’s tonight, and will be opposed by Tampa starter Chris Archer.
MLB Draft: Major League Baseball held it’s first-year player draft last night, with the Orioles being in the bizzare position of picking late in the first round as opposed to having a top ten pick. With the 22nd pick in the draft, the Orioles selected North Carolina high school right-handed pitcher Hunter Harvey. The Orioles vision Harvey as a future front-line starter; he was 8-0 with an 0.38 ERA and 116 strikeouts. Harvey apparently has no urge to go to college, and wants to immediately get started on his professional career. The Orioles also selected center fielder Josh Hart from Parkview high school in Georgia. Hart is committed to Georgia Tech, however Baseball America views him as a top-of-the-order hitter. In the second round the Birds picked Chance Sisco of Corona Santiago high school in California. I think that the O’s are probably pretty excited about the Harvey selection, as if there’s one thing that baseball proves day in and day out it’s that you can never have enough pitching.