- Alfredo Simon and Mike Gonzalez actually did a OK job in relief, combining with Jim Johnson for 5.2 IP and only one run allowed (on a mammoth homer onto Eutaw Street from Lance Berkman versus Simon).
- Nolan Reimold actually got a start - his first since the 19th - and his a three-run homer. Also beat out an infield single with that patented Reimold hustle. Given how the season has gone, why don't the O's actually try to see if they have a left-fielder for next year?
- Mark Reynolds also homered; his 15th of the year.
- Matt Wieters went 2-3 with the team's only walk on the night.
- The team just can't keep sending Brian Matusz out like this. Before the game, I said that I had pretty much stopped hoping Matusz would hit 90 mph in this one, and would be content with no more than one walk and one home runs. Bar... lowered. Bar... not cleared. 3.1 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR. And he didn't touch 89 mph even. I have to think he isn't healthy, but if he is he should probably be in Norfolk.
- With two on and one out in the 8th, O's down 9-5, and Mark Reynolds at the plate, Luke Scott stepped out on deck to apparently pinch-hit for Nolan Reimold. This would be, well, kinda crazy, given that after Reimold (who had already homered) was Robert Andino. Reynolds flew out and Reimold, thankfully, came to the plate. He singled to make it 9-6, bringing the tying run to the plate in the person of... Robert Andino (perhaps because he was 3-3 at that point?). I don't know if Luke is even healthy enough to hit - perhaps having him on deck was a ploy to get the Cardinals to bring in a lefty or something - but if so, he should have been the one swinging the bat in that situation. Andino hit into an inning-ending double play, of course. Buck Magic!
With the sweep, the Orioles fall to a season worst eight games under .500 at 35-43. Not a lot of excitement in Birdland right now.
I know its a small sample and I also think Matusz isn't healthy but for the three young Orioles starters that we have 2010 and 2011 MLB data have all lost fastball velocity this year. From Fangraphs (all speeds are mph):
Matusz: From 91.5 in 2009 to 89.5 in 2010 to 86.7 in 2011
Tillman: From 92.0 in 2009 to 90.5 in 2010 to 89.1 in 2011
Arrieta: From N/A in 2009 to 92.7 in 2010 to 92.3 in 2011
I'd be perfectly willing to admit that the Arrietta data is in the noise but the other two pitchers had a better pedigree and seem to be losing velocity at a higher than average rate. We can only speculate as to why but its a pretty disturbing tren.
In his interview after the game tonight, Brian seemed determined to go to AAA, work on strength and conditioning and get back quickly.
I'm optimistic still... but very concerned. This is our best pitcher.
One more bad, 15 hits and 6 runs, time for a batting order adjustment, I would say. Funny, right before Buck made the announcement about Matusz, the crew mentioned that Buck said Matusz would work out his issues with The O's, not somewhere else, lol.