Monday, April 19, 2010


Gimme Five: Ty Wgginton almost single-handedly won the Orioles their second game of the season.

It took the Baltimore Orioles ten days to end a nine game losing streak that had Oriole fans jumping off the bandwagon like it was the high dive at Five Oaks in the middle of summer.

But the O's finally got the monkey off their back, scoring a season-high 8 runs en route to an 8-3 win over the Oakland A's.

The Orioles still dropped the series, losing 3 of the 4 games against the A's, but yesterday's win was a big relief. Once the game was over, the players were visibly happy, slapping each other fives.

O's fans had a reason to happy too. Brian Matusz notched his second win of the season, going 6.1 IP, allowing 8 hits, 3 ER, 1 BB and 8 K. As of last night, Matusz leads the AL in strikeouts with 23. In just 3 starts, Matusz has proven himself to be the real deal, not some prospect full of potential who keeps fans waiting for a pay off (ahem, Chris Tillman, who lasted only 1 inning in his 3rd start for Norfolk. So far he is a lousy 0-3 with a 8.38 ERA, allowing 17 hits in just 9.2 IP).

Jim Johnson, who blew a save opportunity on Saturday with a disastrous appearance including 2 wild pitches, pitched a scoreless 8th and 9th inning, looking much improved in his second straight day of relief work. O's fans can breathe a sigh of relief for Johnson, who looked like he was on the Mike Gonzalez road to a mental breakdown after Saturday.

At the plate, the Orioles finally had the coming out party that many fans knew would come but grew impatient waiting to happen. And they did it against a talented young LHP in Brett Anderson. Ty Wigginton had 4 RBI, including the Orioles' first runs with runners in scoring position and 2 outs in 2010. He also hit a 2-run home run in the top of the 9th to pad the Orioles lead heading into the bottom of the 9th, making another meltdown all but impossible. He is without a doubt the O's hottest hitter right now and could even bat clean-up for the time being. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis each had two hits, as well as Cesar Izturis.

Even though the O's are 2-11 and lost 3 of 4 in this series, they can at least feel good about themselves heading into Seattle, where the Mariners are one of the league's worst offenses (12th in the AL). The O's starting pitching has been very good thus far, so let's hope that the pitching doesn't falter just as soon as the offense gets going, as it has so many times in the past 10 years.

If the Orioles can take at least 2 of 3 from the Mariners, they would have salvaged a disastrous west coast trip at 3-4. But if they can somehow string together another 3 wins, and sweep the Mariners, the O's will have had a 4-3 west coast trip and actually head into Boston with some -- dare I say it -- momentum.

Am I getting ahead of myself? Probably. No, actually I am. But the M's are pretty much a mirror image of the Orioles right now, except for their 6-7 record.

Hopefully Brad Bergesen can put his 2 poor 2010 starts behind him and give the O's a chance to win tonight so they can put the 1-11 behind them, and focus on their first winning streak of 2010.

No comments: