It is June 3 and the Baltimore Orioles are still in a tie for first place in the American League East. That remains a cool fact to note. The team that shares their record is the team they are playing today: the Rays. So if they want to stay in first another day, they need to win today.
The starter behind whom they'll need to grab the victory is Jake Arrieta. Yesterday, we saw Brian Matusz pitch a stellar game, his sixth quality start of his last eight games. If only we could say that Jake is on the same trajectory. Jake only has four quality starts out of all eleven starts he's made this season. How can the same pitcher who blanks New York and strikes out nine over eight innings give up total stinkers like the last time he saw the Rays - 7 ER in 3.2 IP? Jake's problem is consistency in everything he does, within a single game as well as from game to game. The talent, when it is on display, is tantalizing, and the struggles that much more frustrating.
So, we hope to see Good Jake on display today, because the Orioles will need him in order to win. I believe there may be certain situations where today's lineup could be used as an ipecac.
The lineup - not suitable for children under 13 without parent - will be up against the Rays' Matt Moore. You probably best remember Moore for his postseason performance last year. He has not exactly duplicated his very early success in his first full big league regular season. In ten starts, Moore has a 4.76 ERA. He has only pitched 56.2 IP. Moore gets a lot of strikeouts but also gives up a lot of walks and a few homers. Is there such a thing as a Three True Outcomes pitcher? Moore has faced 250 batters and 95 of them had a BB, K or HR - 38%.
With all the walks Moore issues, and with all the short starts due to an elevated pitch count, patience would be advisable for the O's hitters... but seriously, this lineup, it's painful. Then again, if the O's can be on the right side of a 2-1 game where Jeremy Hellickson pitched and Endy Chavez hit a home run, we need to remember that there are many, many possibilities for life. Occasionally some of them are even good. Jake, let us see some of good ones today! Your team will need them.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TAMPA BAY RAYS|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Carlos Pena - 1B|
|Endy Chavez - LF||B.J. Upton - CF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Matt Joyce - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Ben Zobrist - 2B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Luke Scott - DH|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Hideki Matsui - LF|
|Ronny Paulino - DH||Will Rhymes - 3B|
|Steve Pearce - RF||Elliot Johnson - SS|
|Steve Tolleson - 3B||Jose Molina - C|