I just got back from the ballgame as Mark Hendrickson outdueled Andy Sonnanstine, and the Orioles broke a 12-game losing streak to Tampa Bay, winning 5-4.
Here are my final thoughts on tonight’s win:
– Hendrickson was a pleasant surprise, allowing one run in 5 1/3 innings of work. I was surprised Dave Trembley pulled him after allowing a single to Carlos Pena with one out in the sixth. Hendrickson had only thrown 91 pitches.
If Trembley wants to maintain a strong bullpen into the summer months, he will need to allow Hendrickson and Adam Eaton to work late into the game—even if it means giving up a few extra runs and infuriating Orioles fans in the process.
– I echo the thoughts of Bob Haynie regarding the “O’s” hat. I’d much rather see the cartoon bird hat (without the white panel) with the Friday alternates. It’s still the best hat the Orioles have ever worn.
– In case we needed a reminder, Evan Longoria is one of the best players in the game. He accounted for three of the Rays’ four runs with a solo shot in the first and a two-run blast in the eight. Perhaps more impressive than his bat is his fielding prowess. If you saw the play he made yesterday against Boston, you know what I’m talking about.
– Danys Baez looks very impressive in the early stages of the season, striking out four of the five batters he faced tonight. He’s overpaid at $5.5 million, but Baez can provide some solid middle relief when healthy.
– Two more doubles for Adam Jones tonight. He’s absolutely raking the ball right now.
– The Orioles made another base-running mistake in the second inning with Gregg Zaun getting doubled off second base following Cesar Izturis’ lineout to right field. This is a very capable lineup, but they cannot continue to give up potential runs with such an inconsistent pitching staff.
– George Sherrill continues to remind me of a poor man’s Randy Myers. The lefty struck out the side but gave up a home run to Dioner Navarro in the process. Much like Myers, he rarely has a 1-2-3 inning but manages to get the job done anyway.
– Despite the well-documented missteps of the organization over the past decade, $6 Student Night continues to be a great marketing tool. A large bulk of the announced 22,866 in attendance could be found in the left field upper deck. While it isn’t exactly Section 34 at the old stadium, the college kids bring a nice energy to the ballgame.
Now, we just need to ban the wave, and we’ll be ready to go for the rest of the season.
The Orioles will go for their second-straight win against the Rays tomorrow night when Jeremy Guthrie takes the hill against Jeff Niemann.