Well, the O’s finally put up their first “L” of the season last night, in game number five. I think at the beginning of the season, we’d all have been more than happy if you’d told us the team would be a shiny 4-1 after five games. I also think that, realistically, most of us expected Justin Verlander to easily outduel Brad Bergesen last night. Still, admit it…you were mad after last night’s game weren’t you?
Funny thing, expecting to win, huh?
Anyway, let’s look at how the O’s were brought back to a modicum of reality:
- After four games of stellar defense (the O’s had committed just one error going into last night’s contest), the O’s tripled their season total of E’s in the second inning. Brian Roberts flubbed a pop-up that would have ended the inning, then Bergesen threw wild to second base on a pickoff attempt. After a long double off the wall, the O’s had already allowed more runs (2) in a game than they had all season.
- Bergesen didn’t have much better luck throwing towards home plate then he did to second base. Though his defense let him down a bit (see previous point), and his final line read just 2 ER over 2 2/3 innings, he was far from stellar. Though he got ahead of pretty much every hitter, he couldn’t put anyone away, and the Tigers worked deep into nearly ever count, forcing his early exit. “3E1N” was more like 3 Balls 1 Strike last night.
- Justin Verlander didn’t help matters much by being absolutely filthy. Detroit’s ace went 8 innings, allowing only four hits while striking out nine. He struck out the side in the 7th inning on only 11 pitches. Pretty incredible. Some of his curveballs were making my knees buckle, and I was just sitting on my couch.
It wasn’t all bad news last night though. The Boston Red Sox lost AGAIN, running their record to a gorgeous 0-5 on the season. Not to be outdone, the Tampa Bay Rays also fell to 0-5, and have yet to hold the lead AT ALL in 2011. With every game those teams drop, the O’s chances of a non-last-place finish get more and more realistic.
Tonight the O’s go for the series win as Chris Tillman takes on Brad Penny. Penny was beat mercilessly in his first start of the year, giving up 8 runs on 7 hits in 4 1/3 to the Yankees. Hopefully the O’s bats can break out against him this evening. Derrek Lee hit his first home run as an Oriole last night, and was pretty much the only Bird to look even halfway competent against Verlander.
Friday the O’s will welcome in the American League’s last undefeated team, the 6-0 Texas Rangers (Texas is off Thursday).