The Orioles beat the Phillies tonight in a game that took place entirely in two hours, nine minutes! I was at a baseball game between the Orioles and Yankees that was past that mark in the sixth inning. This was better, especially since the Orioles beat the team they were supposed to beat.
So the Phillies are a bad team this year. Like, really bad. Most of you knew that, and many of you probably thought that it would give the Orioles the old reverse lock to lose. But they didn't! They did only have five hits, which is kind of embarrassing considering the starting pitcher was Aaron Harang. Before I talk about Harang, can we all agree that he looks like Droopy Dog? A side-by-side:
Anyway, Aaron Harang is actually the best starting pitcher on the Phillies this year not named Cole Hamels. That's not saying much, but he really hasn't been terrible. His ERA coming in to tonight was 3.04 and he's averaging almost 6 1/2 innings per start. But he is still a 37-year-old pitcher with a long history of mediocrity, so when the Orioles got through four innings with just one bunt single and one walk on the board, it was starting to feel like one of those nights. But then the Phillies, um, Philly'd, to allow the O's to score a run in the fifth inning.
Manning left field for the Phillies tonight was Cody Asche, who is by trade a third baseman. That became painfully (for the Phillies, anyway) evident when Travis Snider hit a fly ball to deep left field. Your average left fielder would have caught the ball on the warning track, but Asche couldn't get a handle on it and Snider landed on second base. He came in to score on a line-drive single by J.J. Hardy just beyond the reach of the Phillies shortstop, Freddy Galvis. (I had to double check who played SS for them tonight. I was like...no, it's not Jimmy Rollins...)
That first run felt like kind of a fluke since the ball really should have been caught in left field. The next three runs were not a fluke. With Adam Jones and Chris Davis on base and two outs, Matt Wieters stepped to the plate and launched a ball into the night over the right field wall. Right fielder Jeff Francoeur just enjoyed the view as it sailed out of the park for a three-run home run.
Those four runs were more than enough for starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, who pitched a gem tonight. Through seven innings the Phillies managed just three baserunners via walk, bunt single, and double. Four of those seven innings were 1-2-3, and in a fifth Chen faced only three batters thanks to a nifty double play turned by Chris Davis. When Cesar Hernandez led off the seventh inning with a double, Chen responded by striking out the next three batters. (In fairness, the home plate ump wasn't great tonight, but Chen still got the job done.)
Chen tends to tire out between 90-100 pitches, and that started to show in the eighth inning. Luckily Chase Utley overslid second base and was tagged out as he tried to stretch a single to a double for one out in the eighth. That TOOTBLAN was followed by a single and a wild pitch by Chen, but he retired the final two batters to end what was a fantastic game for him.
Though it wasn't a save situation, Zach Britton came in to get some work and was as filthy as you're used to. O's win, 4-0, and have hopefully started another win streak.