The Orioles got into the USA Sunday night by 6:36 P.M. according to Adam Jones. He was also quoted by Brittany Ghiroli saying that, “We have a good day off tomorrow. I hope it’s nice weather. Guys can go out and enjoy New York, watch a play, get our minds off baseball and come back against the Yankees.” Good thing this bit of information came from him, after he was detained by the Canadian border patrol on Friday.
Well, hopefully he is right about the relaxing part. Miguel Tejada’s comments, on the other hand, confused me a bit. In that same post, she quotes him saying, “Tuesday we’re going to start another month and we have to do it from there. It’s a new month. We have the perfect team to start playing good against, the Yankees and Boston, and the Yankees again and the Mets. That’s going to be the start of us playing good again.” I agree that it’s a new month so they should work harder and put the past behind them, but I disagree with the whole team perspective. A 5-36 ball club should look forward to coming back into the mix with games against the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets? I feel like he meant to say this right before the Marlins series or something, but not the Yankees.
Going through the pitching matchups, Matusz takes on Javier Vasquez tomorrow. While Matusz has been struggling lately (6+ ER in 3 of last 4 starts), Vasquez has been a letdown to the Yankees organization all season. Recently putting up a solid performance against the Mets, he has been rocky all season, allowing 8 runs in his first start of the year against the Rays in Tampa. It will be interesting to see how each pitcher tries to make comebacks of their own; Matusz needs to find his early season shutdown form, while Vasquez needs to find his way back to the form he had in prior seasons. The difference between the two being experience, this being Matusz’ 2nd year (technically rookie campaign because of the numbers though) and Vasquez’ 13th year in the big leagues. Both with 5+ ERAs (Matusz – 5.76, Vasquez – 6.86), we will have to see which offense can light up either pitcher. Looking at the Orioles past, I find this to be an interesting game for them since they have been so lazy and awful at the plate this year, but then again Vasquez could end up being the great arm the Yankees hoped he would be.
We then have Brad Bergesen and Phil Hughes. Hughes is a top pitcher in all of baseball, so I figure he could 1 or 2 hit the O’s. Bergesen, since his stint in the minors, had some incredible outings of shutout baseball, along with but also has allowed 13 ER in his last 3 starts. The runs in his last start were mainly due to Trembley’s annoying bullpen changes, but we can look past that. The matchup will come down to if Bergy can locate his sinker in the bottom half of the strike zone. Any pitches he leaves up the Yankees syringe-boasting lineup will surely take advantage of.
On Thursday we get Kevin Millwood and CC Sabathia. Millwood, still winless and pitching like the ace in the O’s rotation that we expected him to be, probably is not looking forward to this game. Sabathia, who is up to a 4.16 ERA due to a troubling May (5+ ER in 3 of 4 starts), still is an innings-eater big man who can capitalize on the Birds poor situational hitting, or any hitting in general for that matter. The current O’s that could be put in the lineup have an overall career .258 average against him, which is not as low as some may expect it to be. This does include, though, the fluke called Garrett Atkins, who is 7-11 lifetime facing C.C.
In the long run, the O’s pitching can compete if we back up the arms with defense and hitting. Looking at defense, we have had some unlucky bounces along with poor play calling by our fielders that make our pitchers stats look a lot worse than they truly should be. As for the hitting, there isn’t much to say. I could bring up the whole RISP situation, or the base running errors, but in all seriousness, it comes down to just stringing together some hits to score runs. It is sad for this team that it has come down to looking back to the fundamentals of baseball offense, but it is what it is.
Most O’s fans would be ecstatic, I believe, if we even came home this weekend with a single win against the Evil Empire. I know I hope for the sweep, but that’s just me in my little Orioles world of happiness. Watch all 3 games this week on MASN and MASNHD (not sure why they give us MASN as opposed to MASN2 like we usually get, maybe it is for the prime games, who knows). Tuesday and Wednesday games are at 7 ET, and Thursday’s game (if anyone is still watching the Orioles by then), is a 1 o clock game in the afternoon.