The O’s road-trip started out on the right foot, and begin a four-game set in Chicago as the middle leg in their road trip.
- Jake Arrieta was once again very impressive. His fastball was 93-96, and he threw it by people (5 total whiffs). The two-seamer showed some good movement (there was one in particular the tailed back over the black on the outside corner at 96 mph for a called strike three). He threw the breaking-balls for strikes, and spun a few wicked sliders off the plate to get guys swinging. Final line; 6.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR.
- Matt Lindstrom and Pedro Strop combined for 3.2 scoreless innings, with the latter throwing sliders for strikes (and ball when needed), blowing fastballs by guess at 98 and hitting the edges at 97 (he K’ed 3). Strop’s probably the team’s second best reliever, which is why I wouldn’t have had him pitch his second inning with the big lead to save him for the rest of the series.
- Matt Wieters did a nice job at the plate, drawing two walks and hitting his 3rd homer of the year. Also, his 4th homer – a grand slam in the top of the 10th (battling back from an 0-2 count, no less). About 10 second before that, I said “Would love to see Wieters make this 10-4 so I can relax.” Ask and ye shall receive, I guess.
- Mark Reynolds walked and double in a run (the O’s only hit with runners in scoring position), and didn’t make a misplay in the field (which is news enough that it deserves a mention). Also crushed a ball to the wall in dead-center to lead-off the 10th that the outfielder missed and resulted in Reynolds getting to third (and subsequently scoring the winning run).
- Nolan Reimold, who pinch-hit later in the game, hit his third 9th inning home run in his last three games. Then drove in another run in the 10th with a single. Maybe he just hit well since he was rested from sitting on the bench for most of the game.
- Adam Jones had a pair of hits, including his 4th home run of the year – to tie the game with two outs in the top of the 9th.
- Despite striking out 15 times, the several Orioles had some nice plate appearances on the night (even if they did do an awful job of converting runners in scoring position into points on the board until extras).
- Endy Chavez once again batted first. He went 0-3 with a strike-out and left 5 men on base (which is pretty impressive, since he only had two chances up when men could be on base).
- Nick Johnson still has his batting eye, but I’m not sure he can really hit anymore. Only took a few swings, and didn’t do anything when he put the bat on the ball. Struck out twice looking (though one was a ball).
- Chris Davis went 3-5 at the plate, with a double and 2 K’s. He chased the ball out of the zone, as he is wont to do (watching him hit reminds me of Vlad from last year – even when he gets a hit, the at bat is sometimes painful). Also, he kind of screwed Arrieta over with his defense in the 7th inning, completely missing a throw to first on a bunt (just completely whiffed on it), and then could handle a second throw to first on what should have been a double play ball. And the O’s say he’s an above average first-baseman?
- Wieters did less of a good job behind the plate though, with two errors on throws to second. It seems like his accuracy with the throwing on stolen bases has been a little off this year. Maybe he’s turning from Pudge Rodriguez into Mike Piazza?
Insane game. For a long time it looked like Jake Arrieta’s nice start would be wasted, but then – sparked by Nolan Reimold, mind you – things turned. The terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles – Orioles baseball! O’s move into sole possession of first in the East at 6-4 (only 64 more to 70).