In the final day of baseball before the All-Star break, the Orioles left a good taste in our mouths that will last at least until Friday. Both teams had their managers in the dugout for the first time in this series; Trembley returning from his two game suspension and Cito returning from his sister's funeral.
The game got started easy enough. In the top of the 3rd inning, home plate ump got hit in the mask by a foul ball. After pretending he was okay, he left after the side, and Dale Scott took over, leading a three man crew for the remainder of the game. The Blue Jays' rookie pitcher, Marc Rzepczynski, seemed a bit flustered by the long delay. He let up an RBI double to Brian Roberts in the bottom of the inning, which was soon followed by a RBI single by Markakis.
Brad Bergesen and all of his excellence, held that lead for as long as he could, taking a shutout into the 7th inning. The only time he didn't look sharp was in the first couple innings, when he walked a couple and scattered a few hits. It still doesn't feel natural yet, to get a 2-0 lead, and feel confident in our chances to win. Bergesen is showing us what the future looks like. He does not get rattled. He throws strikes and does not back down. He is the Orioles best pitcher at only 23 years old. After much restraint so far this year, I think that it's time to just heap praise on Bergy. The kid deserves it, This was one of the best first half pitching performances I've seen an Oriole have. The last game he pitched was probably his worst all year, surrenduring 4 runs in 6 to Seattle. Today, he proved that to be an abberration, with a line not unlike all of his other games: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R , 3K , 2 BB . Other than the Seattle game, you have to go all the way back to May 19 for his last loss. His ERA has dropped below 3.55, good for 11th in the major leagues. He is also staying in the game longer than any Oriole. He hasn't left in the 6th inning since May 24 against Washington. Even though he joined the team later, he now leads the team in ERA and IP. Reimold had better get off that ROY trophy.
Getting back to the game that was played today, the Orioles added another run in the 6th with a solo shot by Oscar Salazar, who was DHing in place of Luke Scott. Aubrey Huff also recieved the day off. Bergesen doesn't need all of that production anyway. Isn't that such a departure from earlier in the year? I used to stay away from the TV on Sundays because I believed that the team didn't even try to win. Bergesen's day finally came to an end in the top of the 7th, after Marco Scutaro hit a RBI single brought the Blue Jays to 3-2. Scutaro smirks, not unlike a michievious child, and he was also the only guy that gave Bergesen problems today. I'm starting to dislike him, and I don't even know him.
Brian Roberts got one of those runs back in the bottom of the side for a 4-2 lead, which became final after Johnson and Sherrill got the last six outs.
It was not a positive road trip for the Blue Jays, finishing 2-8 against division rivals Yanks, Rays, and the Orioles. The Blue Jays were winning this division at the quarter pole, but now sit two games under .500 at the break. I make this point because I still believe that the Orioles should be able to finish in 4th place this year. The talent is there.