Game 8: Orioles 6, Rays 8

The Good:

* Brian Matusz is the team’s best starter. I’ve been saying it, and I think he’s proving it (yeah, yeah – two starts, small sample size, etc.). 7.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 8 K. One of the hits was a bunt, another was of the infield variety, and a third was a bloop. Four of the six came in the 8th inning after Matusz was clearly tired (as did the runs – three of which were allowed to score by the pen). He looked fantastic through the first 7 innings though, hitting his spots and showing a filthy change-up. It was hard for me to tell it apart from the fastball, so I imagine the batters weren’t having an easy time of it. 5 of his 8 K’s came on the change, and all were swinging. One was on a curve (looking) and the other two were on heaters (one looking, one swinging). The location chart for all his pitches:

That is sure a lot of dots in the strike-zone. The kid is good.

* Felix Pie with a 3-5 night. Hopefully his hot start will encourage Dave to just let him keep playing.

* Ty Wigginton hit a two-run bomb, which gave the O’s their biggest lead of the season at the time (3-0). Then he homered again (a solo shot) in the bottom of the 10th. Think he’ll get some more at bats.

* Luke Scott, pinch-hitting in the bottom of the 8th with the team down 5-3 and a LOOGY being brought in, hit one heck of a home run. Tied the game at 5 in most exciting fashion.

The Bad:

* The 8th inning. Matusz was tired – leaving the fastball up and with lower velocity. He gave up 4 singles, resulting in a run (losing his shutout). Then Jim Johnson came in. Got Zobrist with the bases loaded, but gave up a two-run single to Longoria. Then Will Ohman came in. A single and a double to score two more. Just like that, the O’s went from up 3-0 and firmly in control to down 5-3. Brian Matusz didn’t deserve to have to sit in the dugout after his sterling start and watch it all be given away. It was painful, frankly.

* Matt Albers got the task of keeping things even in extra innings, and he failed miserably. Two walks, and then a towering home run by Carlos Pena. Ball-game.

The Final:

Orioles lose 8-6. Now 1-7 on the season. Terrible. (Not the team, so much as the games thus far.) I don’t even know what to say. It’s just been a horribly trying start to the season. The days they score, they can’t pitch. Most days they pitch but can’t score.