After a disastrous series in New York, the Orioles shut out the Twins in game one of a four game set. It was cold and rainy in Minnesota’s inexplicably open air stadium, where the Birds will play three more before the weekend is through.
The O’s dealt Minnesota their tenth loss on Thursday, but they need two more wins to become the last MLB club to earn double digit victories. It’s hard to feel good about much of anything at 8-21, but a shutout in Minnesota, even with the Twins playing sans Joe Mauer, is cause for optimism, if not a ticker-tape parade.
Let’s see what the weekend has in store.
Friday, May 7 @ 8:10: Kevin Millwood (0-3, 3.15 ERA) vs. Francisco Liriano (4-0, 1.50 ERA)
Liriano was the AL Pitcher of the Month of April. He came back to earth in his last start, giving up three runs. But the Orioles are a free-swinging club, and Liriano will try to blow fastballs by them. Adam Jones looks so lost right now Liriano may be able to pull a Bugs Bunny, tempting the gum-chomping Jones to swing three times on a single pitch. Some say Kevin Millwood has had bad luck. I say he plays for a bad team. It would be nice to see him earn his first victory in orange and black, but he’s probably going to have get more than two runs of support for that to happen.
Bold Prediction: Twins 5, Orioles 2
Bonus Prediction: Brian Roberts will watch DVR episodes of American Idol and chillax at the Canton Waterfront Park. No, seriously. That’s what he’s been doing, and MASN is proud to highlight this: http://masnsports.com/brian_roberts/2010/05/a-day-at-the-park.html
Saturday, May 8 @ 1:10: Jeremy Guthrie (0-4, 4.78 ERA) vs. Scott Baker (3-2, 5.35 ERA)
Guthrie almost got a W this week, but Yankees MVP Randy Winn put an end to that dream. Baker has The Birds’ number. He’s 3-0 against the club. Will Guthrie bounce back, or give up a slim lead to the last man on The Twins’ bench? Baker’s season has been up and down thus far in 2010. This game will really boil down to which Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound for the matinee contest. Let’s hope it’s not the one who grooves fastballs down the middle of the plate.
Bold Prediction: Orioles 4, Twins 3
Bonus Prediction: Koji Uehara will emerge in the eighth inning, see his shadow, and play six more weeks of baseball. After Koji pitches a scoreless eighth, Alfredo Simon will give up a run before striking out two Twins in a row, including high school bully Justin Morneau, who will whiff on a 2-2 pitch inside.
Sunday, May 9 @ Brian Matusz (2-2, 3.93 ERA) vs. Nick Blackburn (2-1, 5.79 ERA)
The Orioles are 3-1 on Sundays, and they have Brian Matusz pitching. That’s a pretty good combo. Blackburn has given up a walk for every strike out, and his WHIP is a whimpish 1.62. This one is in the bag. Look for the Orioles to become MLB’s last member of the double digit win club by Sunday evening.
Bold Prediction: O’s 4, Twins 2