It's kind of amazing how much better life seems when the Orioles are getting good pitching and home runs. Heck, a two-run home run and a solo home run together are just like a three-run homer, right? As for good defense, well... no. But two out of three sure ain't bad. Four straight quality starts, four straight victories - this is certainly not a coincidence.
Zach Britton will take his turn today. And, you know, I have no idea what to say about him either. He was not lighting the AAA world on fire. He did not light the Minnesota Twins on fire. In fact, I'd say they lit him on fire instead. And now he will face the Indians, and who knows? One thing I can tell you is that Cleveland has a 10-19 record against LHP, which means nothing, probably, except that some of their better hitters are either lefties or maybe switch-hitters who bat better from the left side. This does not tell us whether Britton will be able to take advantage of that seemingly-favorable matchup.
After the last time Britton pitched, I was so bummed about the Orioles that it seemed like they would never win another game. They have in fact won every game since the last time Britton pitched, so, you know. A clairvoyant person, I am not.
Meanwhile, Orioles hitters will be facing Josh Tomlin. He is not having a good season. He has a 5.51 ERA. In fact, the last time he faced the Orioles, he gave up five earned runs in six innings. Unfortunately for O's fans, that was a game started by Dana Eveland, who gave up five earned runs, and he was relieved by Tommy Hunter, who also gave up five earned runs. In a big league career spanning about 300 innings, Tomlin has a 4.65 ERA - he is 27. He probably is who he is, and that's not a very good pitcher.
Can the unlikely tandem of Jim Thome and Ryan Flaherty notch another home run apiece for a third straight game? Will anyone else on the O's get in on the act? Tomlin has allowed 13 home runs in 85 innings, which is nearly one per game started. The beat writers have been dutifully tweeting Orioles who have good numbers off Tomlin in like less than 20 plate appearances - these include Adam Jones and Wilson Betemit. So there you go. If those guys do well today, they told you so. And if those guys don't do well today, they will never mention it again.
Can Britton help lead the team to five in a row? What is up with a 3:05pm start time in an Eastern time zone city? At least one of these questions will be answered. Go O's!
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||CLEVELAND INDIANS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Shin-Soo Choo - RF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Asdrubal Cabrera - SS|
|Jim Thome - DH||Jason Kipnis - 2B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Jose Lopez - 3B|
|Wilson Betemit - 3B||Michael Brantley - CF|
|Chris Davis - LF||Carlos Santana - 1B|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Shelley Duncan - DH|
|Ryan Flaherty - 2B||Lou Marson - C|
|Taylor Teagarden - C||Aaron Cunningham - LF|