Sunday, April 18, 2010
Off the Schneid
The Baltimore Orioles ended their nine game losing streak on Sunday in Oakland by beating the Athletics 8-3. They salvaged the four game series after losing the first two, and then losing another one-run heartbreaker in walk-off fashion on Saturday.
Brian Matusz (2-0) turned in another quality start and got the win, while Ty Wigginton and Nick Markakis had consecutive two out RBI hits with runners in scoring position to go ahead early. The Orioles now have five hits all season with two outs and a man in scoring position. That number speaks to dumb luck, pressing, and more dumb luck. You can't script five hits in 50 or so chances quite like that.
Matusz was very effective today in striking out eight and walking only one. He is a tremendous talent who can spot his pitches beautifully, craft an at-bat, and put guys away with his change-up or filthy breaking pitch. He only goes to the breaking pitch a few times a game, but when he pulls it out he makes batters look foolish. Matusz is quickly becoming one of the games brightest young pitchers, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him win Rookie of the Year. Yes, folks; he's that good.
The Orioles will now embark on a trip to Seattle to face the Mariners beginning Monday. I'd love to see them start pressing the issue a little bit more. Stolen bases, hit and runs, going first to third on singles. As we saw with the A's today, if you press the issue and force the opposition to make plays, you are making it a lot harder for them. There were a few times today where I thought the Orioles runners should have taken an extra base and didn't. Although it didn't cost them today, it has been costing them to start the season.
I think Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are seeing the ball much better and are becoming more comfortable. Jones needs to start laying off garbage pitchers and let the game come to him. He's hitting a lot of pitchers pitchers, which is not allowing him to drive the ball in the gaps.
Markakis does not swing at the same garbage pitches and is starting to drive the ball with authority. I am never worried about Markakis because he is a true professional hitter, and he will be around .300 when all is said and done.
Let's see what they can do as they head to Seattle