Where did the bats go?
With second baseman Brian Roberts and closer Mike
Gonzalez both absent from Saturday’s game, the Orioles’ lagging offense was
thrust into the spotlight.And the result wasn’t pretty, as the bats continued to
scuffle, mustering five hits against Toronto’s fifth starter Dana Eveland in a
The Orioles had a
baserunner on each of the first five innings, but came up short of home plate.
The team’s 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position marker dropped their season
total to 8-for-46 through the first four games. Julio Lugo, filling in for Roberts, was the lone Oriole
to record a multi-hit night.
So what was going on?
pitched to the corners, he changed speeds, up, down, in and out, and if you go
back and watch the game, I guarantee you that you’re not going to see too many
pitches over the heart of the plate,” Ty Wigginton said of Eveland. “Any time a
pitcher does that, they’re going to be successful.”
Eveland, who won a spot in Toronto’s rotation on the final
day of Spring Training, yielded five hits over 7 1/3 innings, walking two and
picking up a pair of strikeouts.
“I just had a good changeup,” Eveland said. “It was down in the zone
and had a little sink to it and they were just beating it into the ground or
popping it up. I got a lot of soft contact on it, so that was real nice.”
The lefty has owned
the Orioles’ hitters, pitching 14 1/3 scoreless innings in his career against
“When you have a team that is chasing a pitch, you just
try to keep going with it until they show you that they can make the
adjustment,” Toronto’s catcher Jose Molina said. “[Saturday night], the Orioles
didn’t make that adjustment on him and that’s why we took advantage of it.”
“When Molina’s catching he’s one of those catchers to where
he’s unpredictable,” Adam Jones said. “He
calls a good game that’s why he’s been around again.”
“Eveland has pitched well against us,” manager Dave Trembley said.
“Changed speeds, kept the balldown, very few pitches up out over the plate.
Some good at bats up by [Nick] Markakis, some pitches just missed. You tip your
cap. He was on his game and pitched very, very, very well.”
The Orioles are hitting .237 as a team and have scored 17 runs in five games. Three of their four loses are by one run. Yes, Gonzalez deserves some of the blame. But the bats do as well.
“When they fell behind by a couple runs, they started
getting real aggressive, trying to get that first-pitch heater,” Eveland said. “I started
flipping some changeups in there early. In the seventh inning, I threw five
pitches or something like that and four of them were changeups. They were
getting aggressive, so I slowed them down a little bit and let them hit it off
the end of the bat.”