Last night was the first time for as far as I can remember that the cheers or jeers of Orioles fans were able to drown out the incessant buzz of "Let's go Red Sox!" as they tried to wash over Camden Yards. They were not successful. Our out-of-town visitors, from whatever town they are visiting, seem to not be as plentiful or as loud. As MASN analyst Jim Palmer noted towards the end of last night's game, "A lot of the Sox fans who were here have left," and his broadcast partner Gary Thorne replied, "A lot of them never came." This is why we love these guys.
Tonight, it could be more of the same, especially if the O's find themselves racking up some runs against a struggling Boston pitcher. The Red Sox starter tonight is a weird case. It's Aaron Cook, who has allowed more home runs than he's surrendered walks, and he's given up more walks than he's struck out batters. The numbers there are 8 HR, 7 BB and 6 K. No, that's not two Brian Matusz starts. It's actually over nine starts. How do you only strike out 6 batters in 9 starts? It is a giant mystery.
Cook has a 4.70 ERA, and that probably is the result of getting over 60% ground balls, leading to a .250 BABIP. If he had that strikeout rate but a higher BABIP it would be even more ugly. He is a walking statistical oddity, but all it would take is one start that looks "normal" to level all those numbers out a bit.
On the other hand, he'll be facing a team that is a walking statistical oddity in its entirety, that being the Orioles.
One way you can illustrate how weird this season has gotten is by reading this article from Over the Monster, briefly lamenting the fact that Miguel Gonzalez (a Red Sox Rule 5 pick for the 2009 season) escaped and has found a little early success in Baltimore. The Red Sox rotation is such a mess that they wish they had Gonzalez! That is a real thing that a Sox blogger on SBN has written. My mind is continually blown.
The Sox might beat the stuffing out of Gonzalez tonight and then this will be meaningless. We still don't really know what to make of Gonzalez. What I can tell you is that in his seven starts he has a 3.71 ERA. That doesn't suck. His FIP is 5.94, which does suck. Walks and home runs are the problems for him. His rates on both are high. It was the O's who were getting lots of homers last night. Sox hitters could get revenge tonight. Or yet another seemingly-inexplicable victory could be notched by the Orioles. I think I'd like that one better.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||BOSTON RED SOX|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Jacoby Ellsbury - CF|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Carl Crawford - LF|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Dustin Pedroia - 2B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Adrian Gonzalez - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Cody Ross - DH|
|Chris Davis - DH||Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C|
|Mark Reynolds - 1B||Mike Aviles - SS|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Scott Podsednik - RF|
|Omar Quintanilla - 2B||Nick Punto - 3B|