Pity the poor beat writers who were stuck completely re-writing game stories after last night's dramatic walk-off victory over the Royals - the first that the Orioles have managed on the season, since the other times they've caused blown saves they ultimately lost in extra innings. No offense to those folks, but I wouldn't mind a little more drama in the ninth inning, provided it's not an Orioles pitcher causing the drama.
This season opened up with a four-game winning streak and the O's have yet to match it, with three three-game winning streaks, including the one they are currently riding. If they're going to do so in this game, they'll have to hope for a solid outing from Jake Arrieta, who is coming off an awful start against the Nats where he gave up six runs in only 3.2 innings. The 2011 Royals offense is not one you want to face as a pitcher if you need to turn things around, with the likes of Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Jeff Francoeur (seriously, WTF?) and Wilson Betemit (even more WTF?) lighting things up.
By contract, Kansas City's starter Luke Hochevar's last start saw him go for 8.2 innings of one-run baseball against Texas, a team full of good hitters, as the O's can attest. Alas, the Orioles are not a team full of good hitters. But Hochevar's pretty much never had a good start against the Orioles, and some of the players who gave him bad starts in the past are even still on the team, though nobody has more than a handful of PAs against Hochevar. He's prone to giving up home runs, 13 in 66 innings. And we've seen over the past couple of games that certain Orioles can get key home runs on mistake pitches.
I'd settle for a little pitching, defense and three-run homer action. Two out of three wouldn't be bad either.
|Royals (L. Hochevar - R) @ Orioles (J. Arrieta - R)