Game 19: Orioles 5, Blue Jays 2

Things I didn’t expect to hear at the end of April – the starting pitching is carrying the Orioles (the pitchers allowed 1 earned run in this series with the Jays). Yep.

The Good:

  • Brian Matusz continues to improve on the mound. I didn’t have a great angle to see the plate, but it seemed like maybe he had more consistent command of the fastball. Off-speed stuff was still good. Final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 3 K.
  • Darren O’Day pitched two perfect innings in relief, striking out three.
  • Nick Markakis went 3-4 at the plate, with all three hits going to the opposite field. That’s nice, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him drive a pitch at some point too. Also, if he could have picked up a hits with two runners on in the 7th that would have been swell.
  • Adam Jones picked up two hits, including his 6th home run of the year.
  • Chris Davis actually had some decent looking at bats, even if he went hitless in the first three. (though he did draw a walk). Then he gets down in the count 0-2 in his 4th plate appearance and hits a two-run homer – go figure.
  • Congrats to Ryan Flaherty on picking up his first Major League RBI (sac fly) and his first hit (a bunt single) and his second hit (a real single).

The Bad:

  • Nick Johnson is… probably not long for the Majors. 0-3 at the plate as he set the record for starting an O’s career with the longest 0-fer amongst position players. Then he doesn’t get a bouncer down the first-base line in the 6th (with two outs) that he should have at least knocked down, and the result is a two-run triple (was first scored a hit and the two runs were charged to Matusz, but that was later changed). So Johnson is 0-26, but has (now) been hit by pitches 3 times, walked once, driven in a run, scored 2 runs, and stolen a base(!).
  • When the O’s don’t hit home runs they don’t really score – only 2 runs through 7 innings with some runners left on. Then, well, they scored some runs in a hurry. Maybe the team really will just score 750 runs this year by hitting 250 homers.

The Final:

This game probably buys Matusz some extra time in the majors, which is nice to see (as is sweeping Toronto). The win keeps the O’s tied for first in the AL East. They only need to win just over 40% of their games from here on out (a 66-win full-season pace) to get to 70.