Some time over the remainder of this Memorial Day Weekend, it's a good bet that my dad will find A Bridge Too Far on a TV network that's running a war movie marathon. He will sit and watch bits and pieces of it and comment on the action as if he can affect the outcome of the failed Operation Market Garden. I will never fail to be amused by this. I guess I don't get to judge, though, because in watching the Orioles I'll be viewing A Game Too Far (Over .500) and probably shouting equally useless things like, "Don't swing at that crap!" or "F*** YEAH!"
If you missed out on the earlier Adam Jones extension press conference, one thing you missed was a question to Buck Showalter about whether he thought that other players would get the message that if they play well, they will be rewarded around here. Buck's response: "If I know our guys, they're thinking about Luke Hochevar and they want to get back into the cage." Nice answer. For all the good feelings from the Jones conference, and there were many, they won't amount to a hill of beans if the O's can't go out and get a win today. Especially considering the opposing pitcher is Hochevar, who has a 6.61 ERA on the season and a 5.36 ERA in his career.
The O's hitters saw Hochevar ten days ago. They touched him up for four earned runs in six innings of work. Not bad, but you can do better! Maybe the newly-extended Jones will pave the way. Although we certainly hope Jones doesn't put too much pressure on himself. Perhaps Rick Dempsey can tell him to focus easy?
O's starter Brian Matusz was also a part of that matchup against the Royals ten days ago. He gave up three runs over six innings then, but what was really impressive was his effort against Boston in the interim, where he struck out nine hitters over 6.1 IP. He looked a lot like the pitcher we always hoped that he would be. Some part of his problem last year must have been mental, and it's great that he has that game behind him for confidence. Brian, if you can drop that Boston lineup, you can hang with anyone in the major leagues. Get out there and prove it today.
Despite yesterday's loss, the Orioles have an obscene record of something like 22-2 when the starting pitcher records a quality start. They're also 13-1 in games where Adam Jones homers. So there's our key stats. If both come into play today, the signs for the O's are doubly good. If they want to keep hanging out above the big boys, they need to take series against weak teams like Kansas City. Go O's!
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||KANSAS CITY ROYALS|
|Xavier Avery - LF||Alex Gordon - LF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Johnny Giavotella - 2B|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Billy Butler - DH|
|Adam Jones - CF||Mike Moustakas - 3B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Jeff Francoeur - RF|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Eric Hosmer - 1B|
|Wilson Betemit - 3B||Alcides Escobar - SS|
|Nick Johnson - DH||Mitch Maier - CF|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Humberto Quintero - C|
Ronny Paulino was catching in the original lineup, but he was changed out for Wieters. The beat writers indicated Paulino feels fine, so who knows. Maybe Buck thinks that Hochevar is the pitcher for Wieters to use as a slump-buster.