Hot off the heels of their dramatic come-from-behind loss to the A’s, the Orioles are headed north of the border to take on the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend. The O’s are now an abysmal 15-33. Last night they started Garrett Atkins, Julio Lugo, and Lou Montanez, whose OBP is less than his weight. The Jays have had a surprisingly strong start to the ’10 season, posting a 27-22 record to date. Whenever it appears things cannot possibly get worse for the Orioles, they do. This weekend will probably see the Birds falling further down the spiral. Watching the team play is torturous and grotesque. For this reason, it is sometimes hard to look away.
Let’s see what this weekend’s matchups look like.
Friday, May 29 at 7:07pm : Kevin Millwood (0-4, 3.71 ERA) vs. Shaun Marcum (4-1, 2.82 ERA)
Kevin Millwood’s ERA continues to drop while his winless stretch continues. He struck out ten batters while allowing three runs in his last start, but where did that get him? Another day older and deeper in debt. The veteran righty has been a good soldier for the club, but at some point he has to realize that the team’s inability to hit for him is going to cost him some money on the free agent market. He is clearly capable of being a fifteen game winner, but this he may finish the season with seven or eight wins to show for 200 well-pitched innings. For his sake, I hope he gets shipped to a winner at the trade deadline. This team doesn’t deserve him.
Bold Prediction: Orioles 3, Jays 5
Bonus Prediction: With two outs in the seventh, manager Dave Trembley will inexplicably remove Millwood from the game, bringing in Jason Berken, Mark Hendrickson, Matt Albers, and Cla Meredith, each to throw only one pitch to Jays left fielder Adam Lind. Meredith with serve up a rope to left field on a 3-2 pitch grooved right over the plate, surrendering the lead. Trembley will defend his decision to bring in four pitchers for a single at bat after the game, muttering about “matchups” and generally acting cranky, as though the reporters asking him obvious questions are the ones to blame.
Saturday, May 30 at 1:07pm: Chris Tillman (season debut) vs. Brett Cecil (4-2, 4.10 ERA)
Tillman was rushed to the majors in August of last year, and to tell the truth he may have benefited from another full season at AAA this year. The twenty-two year old righty is 5-4 with a 3.12 ERA in the minors, and he pitched a no hitter for the Norfolk Tides. Unfortunately, he won’t be pitching against the likes of the Gwinnett Braves. I expect him to struggle when he faces the Blue Jays, but hopefully he will adjust as the season progresses. Mercifully, this game is a daytime matinee. Hopefully, you have something better to do with your Memorial Day weekend than to watch this disaster of a team
Bold Prediction: Orioles 2, Jays 6
Bonus Prediction: In the postgame, Jim Hunter will wax enthusiastically about the “promise,” “poise,” and “potential” Tillman showed by setting down for three scoreless innings after a rough start. That’s right, Jim. The sun will come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar. Just keep smiling, and everyone will walk away happy.
Sunday, May 31 at 1:07pm: Jeremy Guthrie (3-4, 3.64 ERA) vs. Ricky Romero (4-2. 3.42 ERA)
Eventually, the Orioles have to win a game, even if by mere accident. Why not with Guthrie pitching?
Bold Prediction: Orioles 4, Jays 1