With the Orioles set to face off against Jason Vargas of the Angels in Tuesday's game, it's worth remembering that the same team that sometimes scores runs at will also was cold, over the span of a week, against the likes of Vargas, Aaron Harang, and Joe Saunders.
You know the drill. What is it about the soft-tossing lefties that mystifies them? Vargas himself deserves some credit. He has a 3.71 ERA, which is plenty respectable. That is a 4.50 ERA on the road. Vargas stifled the O's in one of those Anaheim "marine layer" kinds of games. This is a humid June night in Baltimore. He may manage to shut them out again, do even better than a three-hitter like the last time. Or maybe it's time to even things out.
One player who needs to even things out, and probably won't, is Chris Davis, who's 0 for his last 16. Vargas is not the pitcher to get right against, but that's the way it goes. We all talked ourselves into the Davis of April and May being the new Davis, but he's looked a bit like the old Davis lately. He was never going to be as good as the first two months of the season, but let's hope he doesn't slide too far before leveling off.
Miguel Gonzalez, who is expected to become a daddy soon, gets the start for the Orioles tonight. He has averaged exactly six innings per start, never going less than 5.1, never going more than 7. A 4.05 ERA isn't exactly Cy Young territory, but consider this: if the rotation consisted of five Gonzalezes, the O's starters would have thrown about 21 more innings while giving up over 20 fewer runs than they've given up now. He is not what ails the rotation, though certainly, we'd like it if he had performed better so far.
Gonzalez took the loss in that Vargas shutout, giving up three earned runs in six innings. The runs he gave up were the result of a pair of home runs, one by Mark Trumbo and one by Mike Trout. If he can find a way to keep them in the park, that should go a long way towards the O's having a chance to win. If the balls are flying out, as we've seen before, well... hopefully they get some homers off Vargas as well. Maybe the second time they see him, they'll do better?
Any straw we can grasp at.
A win tonight would put the Orioles at 9 games over .500 for the first time this season.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||THE LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Mike Trout - LF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Josh Hamilton - DH|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Albert Pujols - 1B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Mark Trumbo - RF|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Howie Kendrick - 2B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Erick Aybar - SS|
|Danny Valencia - DH||Brendan Harris - 3B|
|Steve Pearce - LF||Chris Iannetta - C|
|Ryan Flaherty - 2B||Peter Bourjos - CF|