Last night, the Orioles exploded for 11 runs against the Twins to snap the eight-game losing streak. With the recent vintage Orioles, one night's explosion of offense might mean bats are waking up and it could just as easily mean that they've expended their allotment of hits (and especially hits with runners in scoring position) in one single game.
Another question that's worth asking is whether the Orioles are good or if the teams they beat are just bad. The Twins will enter tonight's game with the second-worst batting average, the worst on-base percentage and the worst slugging percentage of all teams in the majors. That's hopefully a good sign for rookie Zach Britton, who'll be looking to bounce back after getting smacked around a bit by Cleveland in his last start. Cleveland, it turns out, maybe a bit good - or they at least are in April.
Nick Blackburn goes for the Twins. He's had a decent beginning to 2011 after a pretty bad 2010 (5.42 ERA in 161 IP). Fangraphs gives him an average of 91mph on his fastball, which he throws about 58% of the time in his career - also with a cutter (though we know what some people think when it says cutter), curve and changeup. The slower pitches of Carl Pavano from last night were good for Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero to catch up to. Perhaps their bats don't move as fast as they used to and these will be the ideal sorts of pitchers to face, especially for a hitter like Lee, who's shown he still has a good idea of the strike zone in drawing nine walks.
The old saw is that momentum is only as good as your next day's starter, though, so the O's will be hoping for Britton to keep the quiet Twins bats quiet. Another night of an unstoppable offensive juggernaut would be the best, though, because even a good Britton outing's probably only going six innings, and I think we are all afraid to see what comes out of the bullpen. Let's hope for a return to winning streaks. Go O's!