Game 130: Orioles 5, White Sox 3

Haven’t done one of these in a while, but I also hadn’t been to the park in a couple months. It was fortunate that the Orioles started Joe Saunders yesterday (I’ve had arguments with people regarding Saunders not definitely being better than Tommy Hunter, and he didn’t help those people with his first O’s start), so I was able to see Zach Britton pitch instead.

The Good:

  • Zach Britton was excellent – especially his slider. He kept the ball on the ground while also easily setting a career high in strikes (was 7). No walks plus groundballs plus missing bats (most of the K’s were swinging) is generally going to result in some success. Final line; 8 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 10 K.
  • Nick Markakis doubled and walked, pushing his wRC+ to 123 on the season (just above 2007’s 122, but still well short of that great 2008’s 137).
  • Adam Jones crushed the 101st home run of his career (26th on the season).
  • Mark Reynolds pulled a Markakis with a two-bagger and a free pass, and pushed his batting line into above average territory (101 wRC+). Might even be at replacement level now (-0.1 fWAR coming into the game).
  • Taylor Teagarden showed off his one skill at the plate in his first at bat, lifting what seemed like a medium-depth flyball over the scoreboard in right-field. Later he it another one deep, but sent it to center so it only resulted in a double.

The Bad:

  • Manny Machado went 0-3 with a strike-out, and hasn’t really done anything since hitting 3 home runs early after his call-up. Not fair to judge him harshly for it given his age and his promotion straight from Double-A to the Majors. He “looks” pretty good out there – I think he’ll be a quality Major Leaguer in the not too distant future, but doesn’t appear to be there yet. On the bright side, at least, he’s not chasing too many pitches out of the strike-zone. Lots of swings and misses though.
  • Not that it really mattered, but Pedro Strop “allowed” 2 run when he came on in the 9th. At the start of the inning I said “O’s ahead by 4, which means I expect Strop to give up 2-3 runs now.” Yep. Two hits put runners on, and then Jim Johnson came in (allowed the runners to score), but locked down the save (he now has more of those – 41 – than the Astros have wins – 40). Another two-run win. Of the (now) 8 games in which Strop has given up a run, the O’s have still won 6.
  • The (presumably drunk) idiot in front of the press-box who yelled (loudly, and irritatingly) for the entire game. Someone said they could hear him on the TV broadcast. Just reduces the enjoyment factor from being at the park.

The Final:

The Orioles win again, and take 3 of 4 from the White Sox (the division leading White Sox, I should say). The O’s are now in position to knock the Yankees out of sole possession of first place in the East (while ascending there themselves) in their series in New York. I’m not even sure how to handle that though.