Tommy Hunter, Innings Eater will be opposed this afternoon by an Oakland starter who's just an Eater. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
In a short ceremony on the field before last night's game honoring Frank Robinson, the Orioles Hall of Famer told the crowd that within a couple of years the good times would be coming back. We have heard this before, as we have heard many things before in the years from 1998 to now. This is the first time the sentiment was expressed by a Hall of Fame player and manager on the night of his statue being unveiled. Does that make it mean any more? Well, no, probably not. But everyone walking out of that stadium who'd just watched a 10-1 victory with contributions from Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis, Robert Andino and Adam Jones couldn't help but dream a little.
How long will the good feelings persist? Tommy Hunter starts today, so possibly not very long. Actually, Hunter was last seen going six innings and giving up only one earned run against Toronto. Now he will get to face Oakland, a team that's still averaging less than 3 runs per game on offense. In fact, the A's have the worst team OBP in baseball at .271. This game could give us an answer to the question, "What happens when a stoppable force meets a movable object?"
Somehow, Bartolo Colon and his stem cell-injected shoulder have ended up on the Athletics. He is their starter today. Thanks to the Japan series, Colon has made five starts already, and has thrown 34.1 innings. Well, he is probably good at eating. A 2.62 ERA in those starts reflects the fact that he's faced Seattle three times, plus LAAAOCCA and Chicago. None of these are teams sporting robust offenses. Not that the Orioles themselves are what you might term robust, but they are middle of the pack, with a deficiency in walk rate being made up for in raw power. The O's have the third-most HR in MLB, with 29 bombs as a team. Last night's game notwithstanding, at times they have been challenged in scoring runs without getting home runs.
If the O's manage to best Colon today, they will be farther over .500 than they have been since July 20, 2005. That would be pretty cool, don't you think? Something else cool is that a win guarantees the O's at least a share of first place in the AL East for another day. It won't last, but it's fun when the good month is April instead of August or September. Some day again, every month will be a good month. Not even an optimistic Frank Robinson would say that year is this year, but maybe better days are coming eventually and we're starting to see a little of how.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||OAKLAND ATHLETICS|
|Nolan Reimold - LF||Coco Crisp - DH|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Cliff Pennington - SS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Josh Reddick - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Yoenis Cespedes - CF|
|Matt Wieters - C||Kila Ka\'aihue - 1B|
|Chris Davis - DH||Seth Smith - LF|
|Wilson Betemit - 3B||Kurt Suzuki - C|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Eric Sogard - 2B|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Luke Hughes - 3B|