Sometimes, you have to face a better pitcher, even when your ace is on the mound. Such was the case for the Orioles Saturday, as Angels starter Jered Weaver (W, 10-1) outpitched Jason Hammel (L, 8-5) in the birds’ 3-0 loss.
In a perfect world, Hammel would have picked up the win in this game. Of course, in a perfect world, Hammel could be 10-3 or better right now, and could be joining teammates Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and Jim Johnson as All-Stars in Kansas City. Ours is not a perfect world.
While he wasn’t as sharp as we’ve seen him many times this year, Hammel pitched well enough to win many games (6.2IP, 6H, 3ER, 4BB, 4K). Scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, Mark Trumbo led off with a single to left, and moved to second on left fielder Xavier Avery’s error. Albert Callaspo delivered a productive out, flying to center and advancing Trumbo to third. A single from Howard Kendrick scored Trumbo, making it 1-0 Angels.
Weaver saw to it that things stayed right there through most of the game. The Orioles never had more than one man on base in any inning. Weaver went 8 shutout innings, giving up just 3 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 5. He dropped his ERA to a filthy 1.96.
When the Angels touched up Hammel for two in the seventh, making the score 3-0, the air went completely out of the sails. The team’s collective body language revealed acceptance of the inevitable, that on this night, the other ace was simply better than theirs.
The Orioles play their last game before the All-Star break Sunday against the Angels, and will send Wei-Yin Chen (7-4, 3.64) to the mound against southpaw Brad Mills, making his first appearance in the majors this year. Game time is set for 3:35.
- Hammel showed again that, although he may not always have his best stuff, he will usually keep the team in the game. He struggled well. He managed the game nicely.
- Though he went 0-4, it was good to see Chris Davis back in the lineup. He’ll get more time to rest over the All-Star break, but for now, having every vital member of the squad in the lineup is a must.
- Yes, they came up against one of the game’s elite arms in Weaver, but the Orioles offensively are also looking like they’re hitting another funk. After scoring 7 runs in the first four innings Thursday, the birds have just 3 runs since, and they all came in on one swing of Steve Pearce’s bat.
- Jim Thome knows better than to make his base running mistake in the seventh inning. He crushed a ball off the right field wall, and waiting there to play it perfectly was one of the best veteran outfielders in the game, Torii Hunter. Thome decided to test Hunter’s arm, and tried to stretch the long single into a double. He was thrown out by 3 steps.