Baltimore Orioles: Chen a hard-luck loser


It begins and ends with starting pitching, as I’ve said many times. But what happens when you get quality starting pitching, but the bats don’t come through? That’s what’s happened in two of the last three games for the Baltimore Orioles. Granted the 10-2 loss to Toronto the other night got out of control at the end, but Chris Tillman pitched a good game and well enough to win at that. The same was true of Wei-Yin Chen last night.

Chen mixed his pitches very well, and for the most part recorded outs. Chen’s line: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K. The only problem Chen had was that L.A.’s Jeret Weaver was dealing just as strong. I”m not sure that Weaver threw a pitch that topped 85 MPH on the gun at Camden Yards. If anything, he used the Orioles’ agressive nature against them. When you have a team like the O’s who hit fastballs well, they’re going to get out in front of slower pitches. Weaver induced pop ups and strikeouts all night.

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Albert Pujols homered for Los Angeles in the first inning off of Chen, to give his team a 1-0 lead. One inning later Carlos Perez ran the score to 2-0 with a sac fly-RBI. And there we stood…for some time. Last night’s game truly personifies the idea that if you put one run on the board, that means the opponent has to score two to beat you. If you put two on the board, they have to score three, etc.

Speaking for myself, I didn’t think that a first inning solo homer was that big of a deal. Pujols hit the home run, Chen got the next batter out, and we played on. However again, if you put one up that means the other team has to score two – and so forth. If your pitching can shut them down – as Weaver did with the Orioles last night – you’re in good shape.

Weaver did start to tire in the last of the eighth, as J.J. Hardy smacked a solo home run to cut the lead to 2-1. However the Orioles weren’t able to put any further runs across, and Johnny Giavotella’s fielder’s choice-RBI in the ninth helped to give Los Angeles a 3-1 victory of the Orioles.

Again, the concerning thing for the Birds is that the bats aren’t producing in the past few games. However also keep in mind that these types of things are somewhat streaky. That will happen in a 162-game season. So you have to ride out the poor streaks and hope that eventually the bats break out.

The Orioles also announced last night that Bud Norris is officially being scratched from tonight’s game due to illness. Norris apparently began feeling badly on Wednesday night, and was examined by a medical doctor in the clubhouse during the game that evening. Luckily for the Orioles they can move Ubaldo Jimenez up to pitch tonight on regular rest, as there was an off day Thursday. Jimenez will be opposed by Los Angeles’ Matt Shoemaker. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.