Back-To-Back Pitching Performances Reminiscent Of Last Season
The Orioles got a strong showing from Tommy Hunter, who threw seven innings, giving up six hits and two runs as the Birds won 8-2 against the Twins.
It was the second straight day an Orioles pitcher made the Twins struggle. Jake Arrieta threw seven strong innings of two-hit baseball during a season-opening win as well. If the strong pitching looks familiar, it's because the Birds did virtually the same thing a year ago during the opening series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Orioles got three strong outings -- from Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman and Zach Britton -- during a sweep of the eventual playoff team.
But it proved to not be an indicator of growth among the staff during the season, as the Orioles starters went on to give up an average five runs per game during the course of the season.
Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters each had home runs for the Birds to help give Hunter some comfort. Designated hitter Ronny Paulino, who made the team as the backup catcher for now, had four hits and scored twice.
It's not a secret that strong pitching will improve the Orioles' fortunes. The Birds know that for the last 14 seasons, they've struggled so badly because they've lacked it. For the young O's rotation, it's not about knowledge, it's about doing. Doing this against the Twins is one thing, as I said yesterday. Doing this against the Yankees and the rest of the American League East for 40 percent of the season will be where the team's fortunes are decided.
Hunter and Arrieta rightly dominated a bad lineup during the last two days. This coming week, against the Yankees and Blue Jays, will be a good indicator of how far they really have to go.
Posted April 8, 2012