Last night, we were treated to a shining display of offensive ineptitude and defensive incompetence, a feeble-hitting, three-error performance when the opposing starting pitcher was the immortal Jerome "Jeremy" Williams. What should we then expect against Jered Weaver, tonight's Angels starter?
That's one of those rhetorical questions I probably shouldn't even ask, because the reality is that it's highly unlikely that anything that happened yesterday will have any bearing on what happened today, unless for instance, someone was injured. Like, say, Nolan Reimold, who is being held out of the lineup again due to neck spasms, though at least he was well enough yesterday to go 3-5 and be the only bright spot on offense in the game.
Weaver is a pretty good pitcher, for all that I inherently disregard his stats due to East Coast bias. Sometimes a guy is good enough that you just gotta step back and say, "Whoa." Weaver has been in that category. He's had a three-year streak of 200+ IP seasons, with descending ERA each year, culminating in a 2.41 ERA in 2011, with 198 strikeouts in 235.1 IP. Whoa, indeed. Through three 2012 starts, Weaver's picked up where he left off, with only a 2.18 ERA so far, and 23 strikeouts in 20.2 IP.
He will be facing an Orioles offense that has the most strikeouts in the American League, and one of the highest strikeout rates in MLB. The O's manage to strike out in 22.4% of plate appearances, the 4th-worst rate in MLB. By contrast, the team that strikes out least, the Yankees, has a 13.6% K rate entering today's games. Also down low are the Rangers, with a 16.2% rate. These two teams lead the AL in runs scored. Correlation does not equate to causation, but it's an interesting correlation.
My boy Jake Arrieta is starting for the O's. I've been gently teased and mocked for going all fanboy on Arrieta for the last few months. I might as well embrace it. I am driving the bandwagon. He has, through three starts, pitched like a guy who deserved the distinction of being the Opening Day starter. Not even I expect Jake's 2.66 ERA to continue to be so low. The dark god Babip shall have its due and its points of ERA. Jake has a BABIP of .214, which is to say, unsustainably low. But sometimes pitchers come along and sport low BABIPs over a full season - to name two from last year, Jeremy Hellickson (.223) and Justin Verlander (.236). Not to say that Jake is the kind of pitcher that either of those guys is, but if it might happen to someone, it might happen to anyone.
The time will likely come for despair, and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but that time is not yet. Tonight, at this moment, it is still safe to think that the Orioles have at least one young pitcher from "the cavalry" that resembles something like the "dependable pitcher" that EVPBO Dan Duquette frequently mentions. That pitcher is Jake Arrieta, and hopefully I haven't jinxed him. Go O's!
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||THE LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM|
|Endy Chavez - LF||Erick Aybar - SS|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Bobby Abreu - LF|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Albert Pujols - 1B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Kendrys Morales - DH|
|Matt Wieters - C||Torii Hunter - RF|
|Nick Johnson - DH||Mark Trumbo - 3B|
|Mark Reynolds - 3B||Maicer Izturis - 2B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Chris Iannetta - C|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Peter Bourjos - CF|