The last two days, it's felt a heck of a lot like the Orioles would never win another baseball game this season. Then Tommy Hunter came out and fired off 7.1 innings of one-run baseball, reminding us what we had forgotten, which is that when baseball is involved, many things are possible. I have noted this before, and the thing about it is that when the Orioles are the team in question, most of the possible things are bad. But some of them are still good. And remember, for all the "Twins offense lol" comments to be made, their team batting average is 24 points higher and their team OBP is 27 points higher than that of the O's.
All that out of the way, the possibility is there for a series split behind Wei-Yin Chen today - a victory which would, for all the wags (myself included) who thought the Orioles might be below .500 when they next set foot in Baltimore, keep them at .500 at worst even if they get swept in Cleveland, which they hopefully won't. Also they will hopefully win today.
Chen has had some good games. We have watched the good ones and the bad ones. I post this standard reminder for every Chen start: you will be at peace with him pitching as long as he is getting lazy fly balls and striking a few dudes out here and there, and most importantly, not issuing a lot of walks. If he is controlling his crafty arsenal, then he can keep hitters off balance and leave them looking foolish swinging late on 93 mph fastballs as if they were blowing past at triple digit velocity. When he misses with this, he walks guys and gives up home runs.
Starting for the Twins is Cole De Vries. I will not pretend that I had heard of De Vries prior to recording Sunday's podcast that looked ahead to this series. For all I know, this is a guy they pulled out of the stands and threw into a jersey out of desperation. It's possible that's not far from the truth, because he was an undrafted free agent signing in 2006. Now he's in the big leagues. Nice journey.
De Vries has pitched in seven games, thrown 35 innings and has given up nine home runs. That's a lot of bombs. Despite that, he has a 1.11 WHIP. Small sample size, to be sure. Today's game will make it a big larger of a sample, and hopefully O's hitters will leave his numbers looking worse.
After all, if there's one thing this team does well, it's hit home runs.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||MINNESOTA TWINS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Denard Span - CF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Ben Revere - RF|
|Jim Thome - DH||Joe Mauer - C|
|Adam Jones - CF||Josh Willingham - DH|
|Matt Wieters - C||Justin Morneau - 1B|
|Wilson Betemit - 3B||Trevor Plouffe - 3B|
|Chris Davis - LF||Ryan Doumit - LF|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Brian Dozier - SS|
|Ryan Flaherty - 2B||Alexi Casilla - 2B|