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Even a Blind Squirrel, etc... O's 5, Tigers 3

I saw only part of this game, and I suck at writing recaps, but I'm flying solo for a few days, so I'll stay up and have at it.

As Eat More Esskay mentioned in the gamethread writeup, tonight was a night for O's fans to look forward to, because Guts was taking the mound. But EME was worried because Guthrie's sporting an ERA of 3.89, while the Tigers' young hurler Max Scherzer tops out at a mere 3.51. I decided EME is stupid because who cares about ERA? Jeremy's WHIP on the year is a career-low 1.19, whereas Scherzer's WHIP is a more pedestrian 1.25. Tonight's game showed that WHIP is much more important than ERA (duh!). Also, Guts beats Scherzer handily in a Googlefight.

The game's first three innings featured a rain delay, ugly hats, pitchers trading zeros, both teams leaving runners on base (in scoring position, of course), and stupid talk about college football in the gamethread.....

In the top of the 4th, the O's looked like they might break through. After a Luke Scott popout, SHJ got an infield hit (yes, you read that right), and AJ moved him over to second with a sweet single to center. Felix Pie then Jetered a ball just over the shortstop's glove into short left to load the bases. So, bases loaded, one out! Duck foolishly chose this point to tell his daughter that if the Orioles didn't score, she could have the TV for the rest of the night. We'll give him some credit and assume he hadn't noticed that Josh Bell and Maximum Izturis were due up. Both struck out swinging, and duck was left to cry in his white zin while his daughter watched True Jackson, VP.

In the bottom of the 4th, Guts notched his first 1-2-3 inning of the game, but was up to 61 pitches.

In the top of the 5th, things looked like they might turn sour, as Scherzer really started to deal. He gave up a couple of hits, but also struck out the side, and his pitches were showing great movement. We were right at that moment where the game felt like it would start to turn against us. Yet Guts answered the call in his half of the frame, getting all 3 guys out on only 6 pitches (thanks, Tigers!).

In the 6th, the O's finally drew first blood. Jones doubled to right-center for his third hit of the game, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He didn't need to hustle over though, since Pie, who entered the game 0 for his last 12, hit an adorable double to right and drove in AJ to make the score 1-0. Josh Bell then nuggeted his way to an infield single (seriously?), and with runners at the corners, Izzy came up. As O's fans everywhere went to get beer to avoid watching the inevitable double play, Max-I pulled some birdland out of his ass a hat and hit a legitimate triple to right, plating both runners and providing the title to this recap. The O's were now up 3-0. Izzy's hitting a whopping .272 over his last seven games—somebody STOP him! With Cesar perched only 90 feet from home, Bri-Bob lined out to SS; but Baron von Wigglestein drove Izzy in with about the longest sac fly you'll ever see in your life (and which featured a pretty neat bit of defense by Austin Jackson: see for yourself.) O's 4-0. Nicky then singled, but was stranded by Luuuuke, who grounded to shortstop.

Guts, giddy under the influence of the new "Buck Effect," decided not to give the lead right back in the bottom of the 6th, nor to allow any dingers. He set the Tigers down 1-2-3 on 15 pitches.

Max Scherzer looked like he had some pretty wicked stuff at times tonight, but somehow had given up 12 hits and a walk by the end of the 6th, so Brad Thomas replaced him to start the 7th. Thomas pitched the 7th and 8th with no damage, giving up a single each inning.

Guts finished the 7th and left the game with a shutout and having thrown 105 pitches; he gave up 5 hits and a walk and notched 4 Ks, and seemed to get stronger as the game went on. Another outstanding performance from the Orioles' best pitcher this year (whom a lot of folks around here were demanding we trade over the winter).

In the bottom of the 8th, Fat Albers gave up a single, got two outs to follow it, and then basically shit the bed, giving up three runs (O's up 4-3), but somehow managing to get out of the inning with the tying run on second and the lead run at the plate. In his defense, the last two runs scored on a Peralta double to 1 inch past Jonesy's glove which just underscored the fact that AJ's no Austin Jackson. It was by no means an easy play, but it's the kind of play I think Jonesy makes last year. Someone needs to coach that kid.

In the 9th, after a Nicky groundout and a Scott flyout, SHJ hit a two-bagger. Brad Thomas decided to IBB Dr. Jones, who was now 4-for-4 in a game for the first time this year. Felix Pie made Thomas pay, singling to left and getting his 3rd hit and 2nd ribbie of the night; he drove in Wieters with the ever-important insurance run (O's 5-3), and moved AJ over to third. Ryan Perry then relieved Thomas and induced a lineout from the Nugget to end the inning.

Finally, in bottom of the 9th, 上原 浩治 came on and notched his 9th save, notching two Ks and lowering his ERA to 2.55.

A few notes:

  • It was a pretty great night offensively for the Birds, as everyone in the lineup got a hit except Wiggles (and he got a walk). Roberts (3/5), Wieters (2/5), Dr. Jones (4/4), and Felix π (3/5) all had multi-hit games. Jones is also riding a 6-game hitting streak.
  • However, with 16 hits and 2 walks, the O's only produced 5 runs, leaving 12 men on base.
  • The Birds clinched their third straight series win, and are now 7-4-1 in series since Showalter took over. They also stopped the Tigers' winning streak at 3, and with a win tomorrow can even the season series at 3 apiece (Detroit swept Baltimore at Comerica in July). Finally, they have clinched their second winning road trip in a row after losing their first 9 of the season.
  • Tomorrow's matinee features Chris Tillman and his 7.42 ERA against Justin Verlander (3.53). But remember ERAs are stupid.
  • Nobody is going to read this, because it's being posted at 2:30 in the morning EDT.