I love a good Pitcher's duel. I find them to be exceedingly exciting. The tension palpable. Sitting on the edge of my seat for every pitch. In spite of the final score, this game was not that. Neither starting pitcher did much to whelm, let alone overwhelm. It was basically a game which would be decided by which offense sucked less. Tonight, that offense was the Rays.
The O's showed some promising signs of life early on, forcing early-season Wunderkind Matt Moore to throw oodles of pitches over the course of the first 4 innings; 81 to be precise. The batters were demonstrating a fair degree of patience and making Moore work. But, alas, the O's offense would be stymied in their attempts to plate even 1 run in spite of having the base loaded in the 1st, or having a man on 2nd with no outs in the 6th, or having runners on 1st and 2nd with only 1 out in the 8th....When opportunity knocks you have to answer the door. The O's batters bid Opportunity to pass by with Mark Reynolds K'ing looking to end the 1st, Reynolds and Omar Quintanilla bookending K's swinging around a Lew Ford pop out to right field in the 6th, and two absolutely pathetic at bats by Reynolds and Wilson Betemit which ended the 8th via back-to-back K's; one staring at pitch right down the heart of the plate the other on a pitch that traveled perhaps 60 feet before landing in the dirt at Wilson's feet. 0-7 with RISP today. 0-their last 22 with RISP. Orioles Magic. Feel it happen.....
Moore would ultimately go 5 and 1/3 innings pitched, throwing 108 pitches (68 strikes) while allowing 6 hits (none of which were the result of particularly solid contact), and 3 BBs along with a Wild Pitch, while striking out 6 (5 swinging, 1 looking).
For the O's, Tommy Hunter did what Tommy Hunter is want to do, cruise through the first few innings of the game, scuffle once he starts going through the line up a 2nd time, not hand out BBs, and give up HRs. Whereas Moore had to throw 81 pitches to get through 4 innings, the Judoka threw only 49. However, one of those 49 was an absolute meatball of a pitch that B.J. Upton promptly deposited in deeeeeeeeeeeeep center field for his 100th career home run. Fun fact: Both B.J. and his brother Justin hit their 100th career home runs tonight, with Justin reaching the century mark just a few short minutes prior to B.J.
Hunter would go on to give up another solo bomb to Desmond Jennings to lead off the 6th inning, and the -Devil- Rays would have more than enough offense to put a bow on this game. Joe (Hipster) Madden managed to piece together the final few innings of pitching by utilizing Jake McGee, Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, and Fernando (Fix your effing hat) Rodney. 3 and 2/3 innings, 2 hits, 0 walks, and 5 Ks in total for their 'pen. With the win, TB moves a game ahead of the O's in the A.L. East, as well as the Wild Card standings. Need a strong outing from Chen on the morrow. TB has struggled vs. lefties this season. Let's just hope the offense wakes up from it's stupor and scores him some runs.