On one hand, this game was a nightmare. Seventeen hits, six walks, two batters reached on error, one hit-by-pitch, and only five runs. Adam Jones misplayed a fly ball in center that went for a lead off triple by Miguel Cabrera in the 8th inning. In the second, Julio Lugo forgot that he had two strikes and tried to bunt, resulting in a strike out to end the inning. Twice in the game, Orioles were thrown out trying to steal. Not only that, but the Orioles were so predictable about it that both times the Tigers pitched out. And the two most reliable members of the Orioles bullpen, Jason Berken and David Hernandez (along with Alfredo Simon), were unable to hold the Orioles lead and get Jake Arrieta a deserved win.
So there was all that.
On the other hand, though, there were a number of things to be encouraged by. Matt Wieters looked great at the plate. He walked, drove one ball into the left-center gap for a double another to right-center for a Comerica Park triple. Nick Markakis also had a great night. He had three hits, including a 2-run HR., his fifth on the year. After being stuck on three home runs since 25 May, Nick now has two in his last five games.
Adam Jones had a mixed day, honestly. He had a great time offensively, but his defensive miscue was a big one. He made an ill-advised dive on Cabrera's gapper, letting the ball roll to the wall. A better jump and maybe he would have caught it, a better decision and he probably could have played it into a single. But at the plate, Jones was money, getting on base four times. He singled twice to left field and was hit by a pitch. Then in the tenth inning, the normally impatient Jones allowed the pitcher to walk him, with ball four being a pitch nearly identical to the one he struck out on in the seventh.
Felix Pie also had a multi-hit game. Twice he singled, including once with two outs and Matt Wieters at third which, at the time, gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead. He unfortunately couldn't come through in his other four at-bats, leaving four runners on base. But he looked healthy running the bases and made a few plays in left field (although nothing out of the ordinary). It's good to have him back.
Miguel Tejada (2 hits, 1 walk) and Julio Lugo (3 hits, 1 walk) also had good nights on offense.
And of course, there was Jake Arrieta. Arrieta had a great game, his best since his start against the Giants on 15 June. Arrieta struck out four and walked two, giving up 7 hits in 6.1 innings. He only had three ground outs to eleven fly balls, which would have been more troublesome in smaller ballpark. Most encouraging to me was his low ball count. Of the 96 pitches he threw, 67% were strikes. That's his highest ratio on the year.
Tomorrow the Orioles will try to avoid the sweep (again). Brad Bergesen, who was great against the Red Sox in his last start, takes the mound against Max Scherzer. Like Bergy, Scherzer is having an up and down season (with more downs than ups), but he's coming off of a great eight inning start against the Mariners.