Jordan Zimmermann is a promising young talent. There. I said it. To be sure, he was hitting 95 today and had some good breaking stuff, but when the Orioles had him on the ropes (and they did), they wilted. When the Orioles got men in scoring position (and they did), they choked. You've seen it before, I'm sure, so I won't belabor the point, but that's almost the story in nutshell.
Also of note, has been the fact that Matt Wieters, almost impossibly unstoppable with runners in scoring position earlier in the year, has been putrid in the clean up spot this series. He certainly had his chances, but the dirty work was taken care of J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones. As for Brian Matusz, his velocity, location and command of his breaking stuff seemed better than in his nightmarish outing from last week, but it would be an understatement to call his performance subpar. Matusz touched 89 mph repeatedly today, but seemed to sit more in the neighborhood of 86-88. He managed to freeze three Nats on 3rd strike breaking balls and struck out two more swinging. Again, Matusz appeared to tire early and his velocity began to tail off. While it was nice of him to hold off beyond the second inning before running out of gas, he doesn't physically appear up to the task of starting at the moment and his outing was put out of its misery when he left the game with an apparent hamstring strain. Clay Rapada, on the other hand, has no such physical excuses for his poor outing. On the positive side of the ledger, Rapada managed to pick off Danny Espinosa after Espinosa had already stole second, but he then finished what Matusz started with Jerry Hairston, Jr. by walking the former O. Rapada then allowed an absolute screamer to the wall off the bat of Ivan Rodriguez which scored Hairston and effectively closed the book on the O's.
Other plusses? Derrek Lee extended his consecutive at bat hit streak to seven, Adam Jones hit another home run, Mark Reynolds made some nice plays on defense and Brad Bergesen looked solid in relief. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) Luke Scott left the game early with back spasms, the flavor of the week on the 25 man roster, it seems.
This game stunk and was kind of like having your teeth pulled.