With a win tonight, the Orioles would see themselves at 5 games over .500 past the single digit days of April for the first time since June 20, 2008. That same 2008 season proves why looking at such things is meaningless. What may have at one time seemed like a promising 39-34 record ended up at 68-93 at season's end, with the last month of the season alone featuring separate losing streaks of 8 and 10 games. Still, for a team that most people, even those like us with orange-tinted glasses, expected to barely tread water at best, a nice start beats the heck out of some kind of grotesque mockery of baseball like a 2-16 start.
Standing between the O's and that tragically elusive plateau is Brian Matusz. Look, I don't know what there is new to say about him any more. If anyone knows what his deal is, they don't know how to fix it. I was looking through old chat conversations with Stacey from when we were still excited about Matusz. It's like looking into an alternate reality. One day, Mark Buehrle was pitching against the Orioles, and I noted he'd thrown 200 IP every year since 2001 and I wished we had a pitcher like that. This sentence was typed: "In ten years, people will be saying, Brian Matusz has thrown 200 innings every year since 2011. I wish we had a pitcher like that."
Matusz enters tonight with a 7.98 ERA. I cannot offer any confidence whatsoever in the possibility that his ERA will go down as a result of his outing tonight. He's lost twelve straight decisions while looking like a pitcher who deserves to lose twelve straight decisions. If he loses tonight, he'll tie a franchise record. Those aren't the sort of franchise records we imagined Brian setting.
Some good news is that the Blue Jays starter is Drew Hutchison, a 21 year old righty who's pitching in his second-ever MLB game. Wait, who am I kidding? That's not good news. Hutchison picked up a win in that debut, despite giving up 5 ER in 5.1 IP, mostly because his team scored 9 runs against Kansas City. Hutchison also needs to play the "lower my ERA" game, as that amounts to an 8.44 - though he could maintain that pace and get his second win, really.
Enough doom and gloom. Nolan Reimold is back in the lineup tonight. His neck is better, but the beat types report that Reimold is battling a cold. They also say Jim Johnson is still in the hospital, but improving, and that Pedro Strop would not be available tonight if there was a save situation. Somehow, I don't think we will have to worry about a save situation tonight. I guess I didn't do a very good job putting a lid on the doom and gloom.
Here's something happy: as I mentioned a couple of days ago, the Andinos weren't the only family scheduled to welcome a new member yesterday. WW and his wife are now the proud parents of a cute baby girl - I know because I saw pictures. Never one to forget his favorite sports teams, WW said this morning regarding his daughter's first night in the world, "Poor Charis. She thinks the Caps, Wizards and Orioles are actually good since they are all 1-0 in her lifetime." Congratulations to the WW family. Remember: it's pronounced CARE-is.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Nolan Reimold - LF||Yunel Escobar - SS|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Brett Lawrie - 3B|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Jose Bautista - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Edwin Encarnacion - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Eric Thames - LF|
|Chris Davis - DH||Ben Francisco - DH|
|Mark Reynolds - 3B||Rajai Davis - CF|
|Nick Johnson - 1B||J.P. Arencibia - C|
|Ryan Flaherty - 2B||Omar Vizquel - 2B|
The 8-9 hitters for Baltimore are a combined 0-31 on the season, with the lineup featuring four hitters below the Izturis Line (.300 OBP). Maybe they will find some way to rack up some run support for Matusz, who probably will need it.