The Orioles entered their mid-week series with the Red Sox as losers of two of their last 13 games. Meanwhile, the Sox were coming off a four-game sweep of the Angels that included two shutouts. The O’s are already 0-4 against the hated 1st place Yankees and desperately needed a couple of W’s to stay close to .500.
Thanks to Zach Britton and Jeremy Guthrie, they did just that. Britton won his fourth game of the season, out pitching Clay Buchholz. Britton’s sinker has quickly made him one of the better pitchers in the AL East. His groundball/flyball ratio of 1.47 is currently good for 11th place in all of baseball, and behind only Jon Lester among AL East pitchers.
Jeremy Guthrie weaseled his way through Wednesday night’s game. He pitched out of major trouble in the first inning as Robert Andino ran down a David Ortiz popup in short leftfield. Luke Scott was nowhere to be found and Andino showed some amazing range to make the play. Nick Markakis saved Guthrie in the fourth inning, throwing out David Ortiz at home plate on a base hit by Jed Lowrie. And finally, with a runner at second base, Guthrie robbed Dustin Pedroia by snagging a line drive comebacker to end the fifth inning.
These two starters appear to give Buck Showalter a solid 1-2 punch that can compete with the best offenses in baseball. Also, Jake Arrieta has pitched much better than his ERA suggests. He allowed more runs in his start against Texas (8 ER), than he has in all his other starts combined (7 ER). Arrieta faces the White Sox tonight in the opener of their four-game wrap-around series in Chicago.
The O’s offense scored four runs in Britton’s outing on Tuesday, despite cracking 12 base hits, all off of Buchholz. They seemingly had him on the ropes every inning, but couldn’t get the big hit. O’s hitters had three sacrifice flies in the game.
Luke Scott and Adam Jones hit back-to-back home runs off Josh Beckett in support of Guthrie, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. The teams showed some guts however, by rebounding to score a run off super-reliever Daniel Bard to win the game.
Kevin Gregg saved both wins in the series for a bullpen that is starting to look very vulnerable. Mike Gonzalez is about to get DFA’d if he’s not careful. He can’t get anyone out and there is no point in having a lefty in the ‘pen if that lefty is brutal. Koji Uehara finally got tagged for a HR, but he’s still one of the bright spots. Jeremy Accardo looks good when he’s throwing strikes, but he seems to walk a batter per outing.
We’re almost one full month into the season and you can start to get an idea of what to expect out of the Orioles this year. I believe we’re looking at an improving team, but a team that will still struggle to finish at .500 in the AL East.
About the Author
Written by Sven Jenkins
My name is Sven Jenkins, and I’m an independent baseball analyst from Poughkeepsie, NY. I own 60ft6in.com and do freelance work for STATS Inc. In the past, I've done research for the St. Louis Cardinals and worked one season with Baseball Info Solutions in 2007. I have also spent many nights as an official scorer in the minor leagues and played NCAA D-III baseball at SUNY New Paltz. In the off-season I travel the world, having enjoyed over 1,100 days on the road through 40 different countries. You can email me at: jenkins AT 60ft6in DOT com.