Reversing the attendance downturn after Opening Day with the infusion of New York fans.
- Matt Wieters might actually be the best catcher in baseball right now. He hits his second home run of the year, over the scoreboard; doubled to the opposite field; singled through the infield shift, and then to the outfield on a line; and threw a runner* out on the bases. I was hoping for the triple to complete the cycle – and, remember, Wieters first Major League hit was a triple against Justin Verlander – but it was not to be.
* It was on a terrible double steal. Two on (Jeter at second), one out, 3-2 on A-Rod. Why would you start the runners? (A) It’s Matt Wieters. He’s going to get you. (B) It’s Brian Matusz. He’s not a groundball pitcher by any means. It’s almost more likely you’ll induce a double play by starting the runners, off of a line-drive or flyball. But Joe Girardi called it, and the strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play got Matusz out of that jam.
- Brian Matusz was awful. His pitching motion looked inconsistent; his control was almost non-existent; and everything was up in the zone:
At least his fastball was 89-92, and his off-speed stuff looked alright. And he somehow managed not to give up a home run. That’s something, I guess. Final line: 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 1 K. In the game preview, I said that I wasn’t sure it was a great idea to have Matusz make his first start of the year against the Yankees. Not sure if things would have been better versus the Twins, but I’m thinking they just might have been.
- If the O’s had an actual long-man – like, say, Alfredo Simon – then I would have had him ready to come in in the 4th, when it was still 1-1 (because Matusz just looked that bad – it was only a matter of time until the Yankees got to him). But they don’t. Which doesn’t seem like the best thing when you have a crappy rotation (first three games not withstanding).
- Also in the game preview, I said that Ivan Nova could put guys away with his breaking-stuff, and if kept the ball down in the zone then he could get a few O’s chasing balls for strike three. Nova on the night: 7 K’s, 4 swinging at breaking-balls out of the zone (and at least one looking at a hook).
- Darren O’Day relieved Matusz on the mound, but didn’t provide much relief for the viewers: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 HR. Not the most auspicious Orioles debut.
- Pedro Strop was brought out to keep the deficit at 6-2 in the top of the 9th. He did well – three easy groundouts – but why was he used? The game is pretty much lost, and he’s one of the team’s best pitchers. Better to have him for both of the next two games, possible for more than one inning if need be, no?
- The O’s picked up 12 non-home run hits on the night, including 6 doubles (two by Andino, one by each of Wieters, Reynolds, Betemit, and Davis). These lead to exactly one run scored (the other was on Wieters’ solo homer).
Back to reality, I guess. O’s lose, in what was a pretty miserable game to watch. Can still take the series though.