The Orioles are perched one lone game over the .500 mark. This is exactly the sort of game you might think they will lose if only because they keep showing us they are a .500 team. But, they should still be better than the last place Rays, even so. Right? It's just that they get mysteriously shut down by pitchers who are awful this year like Jake Odorizzi. It's not mysterious. This happens because their approach collectively sucks.
Well, here's a familiar name. Once what passed for an ace on some awful Orioles teams, Bedard has bounced around since being shipped to Seattle in that highway robbery. Velocity that peaked as high as an average of 92.6mph on his fastball is now down to 88.7 this year. He throws a cutter now. Whenever I hear about pitchers picking up a cutter, I think about Chris Tillman (part of that Bedard trade) trying to add a cutter to sacrifice velocity for movement and control. He got no movement and had no control.
It all seems to work out better for Bedard, who is getting non-terrible results on a thus far terrible baseball team. He gets fewer ground balls than ever and yet is giving up fewer home runs than ever. Inducing weak contact, or one hell of a lot of luck? Maybe the difference is pitching at the Trop. Batters have a .219/.305/.289 against Bedard in 29 innings at the Trop this year. That is sub-Flahertian.
This is Gonzalez's first start after a trip to the disabled list for an oblique injury. I hate oblique injuries for Orioles players because it feels like they ruin everything. Maybe that's not true.
Significantly for Orioles starters, they are working on a streak of eight straight quality starts in a row, which is the longest since they had nine straight between the end of the 2010 season and the start of the 2011 season. The Orioles are 4-4 in those eight games. That is stupid. It also shows that quality starts don't mean all that much as far as the team winning games if other areas of the team are full of failure, like batters and Brian Matusz. Still, it's better to get a quality start from your starter than not.
Gonzalez faced the Rays earlier this season, giving up no runs over five innings.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TAMPA BAY RAYS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||D. Jennings - CF|
|Steve Pearce - DH||Matt Joyce - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Evan Longoria - DH|
|Chris Davis - 1B||James Loney - 1B|
|Nelson Cruz - LF||Ben Zobrist - 2B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||David DeJesus - LF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Yunel Escobar - SS|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Jose Molina - C|
|Caleb Joseph - C||Sean Rodriguez - 3B|
|Miguel Gonzalez - RHP||Erik Bedard - LHP|
One of the current little mysteries about the Orioles is why Buck Showalter thinks it's fine to bat Manny Machado second on some days and not others. That was your #2 batter yesterday, and now he's batting seventh. Well, one reason might be that Bedard is left-handed, and Machado bats .204/.235/.306 this year against LHP. Of course, Machado only bats .248/.308/.356 against righties this year, so like... don't bat him second against anybody.