Rebounding Kearns Sinks Birds

May 15, 2010 |

The Orioles bullpen didn’t just squander Brian Matusz’ effort against the Indians, they torched it.  Seven scoreless innings up in flames.  Alfredo Simon blew his first save in 6 chances on Saturday night by serving up a three run homer to Austin Kearns.

On the bright side, Matusz had a strong bounce back effort after struggling in his last start against the Twins.  Evidenced by the 4 walks, it wasn’t a flawless outing but it should have been good enough for a win.

That brings us to Kearns.  After 3 lackluster injury-plagued seasons with the Nationals Kearns signed with the Indians as a free agent.  The signing marked a return to the state of Ohio for Kearns, he broke into the Majors with the Reds in 2002 as a 22 year old boy wonder.  Kearns posted a .907 OPS and drove in 56 runs in 107  games as a rookie setting up huge expectations.  He never again delivered that kind of production for Cincinnati and was shipped to the Nats in a multi-player deal in 2006.  After hitting .217 and .195 in the past 2 seasons in Washington it looked like Kearns career had bottomed out before the age of 30.

So far in the 2010 season Kearns, now mostly a platoon player, has 3 HRs and 20 RBI and a .941 OPS in 88 at bats.  Perhaps Kearns has finally found a role that suits his talents, or perhaps the AL pitchers just haven’t figured out how to pitch him, like Alfredo Simon.  Whatever the reason, on a beautiful Saturday night in Baltimore, Austin Kearns made like it was 2002 when he flashed all that promise.