It wasn't quite as weird as Chris Davis pitching two scoreless innings to get the win in a 17-inning game, but it had to be pretty close, didn't it? A 10th-inning rally after Jim Johnson's consecutive save streak was broken, a rally which prominently featured Ronny Paulino and Endy Chavez batting in runs? Yet another one of the games where it would be all too easy to label it as one of Those Games - where last year the Orioles would have failed the gut check, but thus far this year they have passed, most of the time, to the surprise of almost all of us.
A less-traumatized fan than myself might even be able to envision last night's game as the catalyst for starting a long winning streak - rather than fearing tonight's game as the catalyst for an equally-long losing streak. We will find out tonight, where we will see the truth of that favorite Earl Weaver saying that momentum is your next day's starting pitcher.
For the O's tonight, that's Wei-Yin Chen. What kind of momentum are we going to get from him? An ERA that was as low as 2.43 in mid-May has gone up to 3.75 thanks to a pair of rough outings sandwiching a quality start. He gave up 6 ER in 4.1 IP against Washington and in his most recent start surrendered 5 ER in 5.2 IP against Tampa Bay. Having two bad starts, not even in consecutive games, tells us little. Maybe the league has figured him out or maybe there was some other factor causing him to have a bad game. We have no way of knowing, so all we can do is root for a good game from him tonight and hope he delivers.
Josh Beckett pitches for the Red Sox. He has made ten starts in 2012 and he has gone at least 7 innings in six of those starts. In the aggregate, though, he has not been as dominant as we saw him be last year (2.89 ERA in 193 IP). So far this year, he's been about the definition of league average with a 4.26 ERA. Strikeout rate and fastball velocity are down on average, and his home run rate has ticked up a bit; at 9 HR in 63.1 IP he's at about 1 HR per 7 innings. If he has a bad night tonight, there are many Orioles who could inflate that rate.
On the other hand, if Beckett has a good night against a lineup that features Chavez leading off, then we could see him look like the Beckett of old as the Orioles extend their lead over the rest of the leagues in the strikeout or GIDP categories.
The Orioles are now 4-0 on the year in Boston (5-2 overall), which certainly could mean they are "due" for a loss. It could also mean that the Curse of the Andino has taken root in that place and that the Red Sox Nation is in the first year of the next 86 years of misery. I know which of these two things I'd rather believe.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Endy Chavez - RF||Mike Aviles - SS|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Kevin Youkilis - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||David Ortiz - DH|
|Chris Davis - DH||Will Middlebrooks - 3B|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Adrian Gonzalez - RF|
|Wilson Betemit - 3B||Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C|
|Ryan Flaherty - LF||Darnell McDonald - LF|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Marlon Byrd - CF|