"All right, I'm pumped, let the healing begin!" Matt Damon, Good Will Hunting.
Before today's game, I was like Matt Damon. I was ready to bury the past and start fresh after the All-Star Break. I was excited to see my team play and start off the second half of the season on a strong note. But like Damon, there was an underbelly of sarcasm and cynicism in my mood. Why? Because of the craptastic game we watched this afternoon is a broken record. But Camden Chat is a fan site and fans are unfailingly supportive and optimistic of their team. Much like little league, everybody gets a reward for effort today. So this recap is going to be optimistic and happy. I'm talking Smurf happy and optimistic... actually Smurf happy and optimistic on a pound of cotton candy. So what happened today?
The game started off on a sour note as Jeremy Guthrie put the Orioles in a large hole early on. In the first inning, Guthrie couldn't quite locate his pitches and gave up two homers to Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos "You've got to change your evil ways, baby" Santana. Guthrie wasn't particularly great in the second inning either but former Expo, 65 year old Orlando Cabrera grounded into a double play to end the inning. After the second inning Guthrie settled down and pitched well for the next three innings. Early on, he seemed to be pumping a lot of fastballs, but he started to mix up his pitches effectively and even threw a 65 mph breaking ball and a 97 mph fastball for a strike out at a couple of different points. Unfortunately, he ran into trouble in the 6th and Mark Hendrickson couldn't close out inning without adding more damage. But in birdland, there are no losers, only winners. Jeremy, you may have gave up 6 runs but I give you.... wait for it... a smelly sticker!
On the opposing mound, there was Gargamel er I mean Justin Masterson who was quite solid. Masterson's signature pitch is his sinker and I thought it was effective. I was actually surprised he didn't use it more because hitters couldn't quite square up on it. After gaining a huge lead in the top of the 6th, Masterson gave up back to back doubles to Matt Wieters and Derek Lee -- the later hit was off of one of Masterson's sinkers. Blake Davis earned an RBI off a sinker from Masterson later in the inning to bring the O's within four runs. Davis and Lee, step right up for your sticker.
But the Indians' pen shut down the O's for the rest of the game. I didn't realize it until now, but their pen is pretty sick. Obviously I don't follow the Indians closely, but I think Chris Perez and Rafael Perez are the main late innings guys (?), but Vinnie Pestano and Tony Sipp were quite strong in the eighth and ninth innings and registered five strike outs between them. I guess the best thing I can say about this game is that Blake Davis and Craig Tatum looked good. Davis showed good plate discipline and his hit in the sixth inning was nice. Tatum smoked a fastball off of Masterson in third inning to get the two run rally started. Obviously, neither player have much upside but I think they can be nice pieces to have around if only to prevent another Julio Lugo signing. Overall, fine effort gents. There's always the next game. It doesn't matter if you win but how you play. You're always number one in my book.