Friday the 13th is supposed to be Jason’s day. At least, that’s what the scary movies told us. This particular Friday the 13th, though, was not a good day for Jason, and, depending on how the story unfolds on Saturday the 14th, the Orioles’ season could have just turned into a horror story.
Jason Hammel got the ball from Buck Showalter to open the second half of 2012 against Detroit. Of course he did. He has been the ace of the staff, stingy with baserunners, sometimes unhittable, and always a man among boys in the Orioles rotation. He could’ve been the fourth Oriole All-Star this year. In most recent seasons, the kind of numbers he’s been able to put up would likely have made him the only team representative in the fall classic. In his first season in Baltimore, Jason Hammel is having a career year.
In the first inning, the Tigers loaded the bases against him. With two outs, Brennan Boesch delivered a 2-run single to right, making it 2-0.
The birds got to Tigers starter Doug Fister (W, 3-6) in the bottom of the third. With one out, Wilson Betemit picked up the first Orioles hit, a double to center. One-out later, Nick Markakis—playing in his first game since undergoing wrist surgery in May, plated Betemit with a double of his own, making it 2-1.
The Tigers’ fourth provided the biggest scare of the year for Orioles fans. After his sixth pitch to Boesch leading off the inning, Hammel pulled up lame, limping, favoring his right knee. After being briefly examined by Orioles training and medical staff, Hammel threw a couple of warm-up pitches. Showalter decided to pull his ace. Hammel will have an MRI done on the knee Saturday at 1 p.m.
Luis Ayala relieved Hammel, and gave up back-to-back, two-out doubles to Alex Avila and Ryan Rayburn, making it 3-1. After Miguel Cabrera connected for his 19th home run of the year in the fifth off Ayala, Showalter went to the pen again. Left hander Dana Eveland is the closest thing to a long reliever the Orioles bullpen really has, and so, with one away in the fifth, he got the call.
Eveland was awful. He would give up a 3-run homer to Jhonny Paralta, before he could get the final two outs of the inning. After five, the Tigers led 7-1.
The birds and Tigers do battle at Camden Yards again Sarturday at 4:05. Wei-Yin Chen (7-5, 3.93) goes for the Orioles, vs. Max Scherzer (8-5, 4.72, and a league best 11.19 k/9) for Detroit.
- The bullpen, after Ayala and Eveland, actually pitched very well. The combination of Kevin Gregg, Troy Patton, Matt Lindstrom, and Pedro Strop pitched 4 innings of scoreless relief, giving up 2 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 2.
- Jason Hammel is one of the reasons the Orioles are where they are. Losing him for an extended period of time could—ok, likely would—spell disaster. Some teams actually could sustain an injury to their ace. The 2012 Orioles are, in all likelihood, one of those teams.
- Another error, although this time, from an unlikely source, in JJ Hardy. Hardy had another brutal night at the plate, too, going 0/4 with 2 strikeouts and 3 runners left on base. Hardy is 0 for his last 23. Lifetime against tomorrow’s starter, Sherzer, Hardy has more stikeouts (4) than hits (3), in 16 at bats.
- Just two hits off of the Tigers, only one of which came against starter Doug Fister, who went seven. Coming in to Friday night, Fister had allowed 75 hits in 60.2 innings, and had pitched to an ERA of 4.75.