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Bats Still Silent, Pitching a Plus

By Joseph Merkel

After a five game win streak including a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards, the Orioles bats have once again gone silent. For once, the bright side of Orioles baseball has been the starting pitching and it has been coming from some unfamiliar faces.

In Sunday’s start against the Detroit Tigers, rookie right-hander Jason Berken allowed just one run on four hits and two walks over seven innings. Unfortunately it was a wasted effort as Curtis Granderson’s fourth inning solo home run would prove the only run that the Tigers needed as Detroit shut out the Orioles 3-0.

Detroit’s starter, the once wildly inconsistent prospect Edwin Jackson, allowed just two hits over eight shutout innings, striking out seven.

Although the Orioles couldn’t get the bats going, seeing one of our young guns come up and pitch well is definitely something to get excited about.

If you didn’t get a chance to see Berken’s performance, you needn’t have waited longer than a day to see another great outing by an “O.” Rich Hill, an offseason acquisition from the Chicago Cubs was wheelin’ and dealin’ on Sunday night and once again the bats fell silent.

Thankfully, this time it didn’t matter as Hill threw seven shutout innings and Jim Johnson and George Sherrill closed out the game in commanding fashion for the 1-0 win. Aubrey Huff’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning plated centerfielder Adam Jones.

Hill, known for his big swooping curve ball, walked just three and gave up two hits and striking out seven. It was a great comeback after he produced an ugly line in his previous start.

David Hernandez’ Tuesday start proved more difficult as he gave up 10 hits over five and a third innings. Hernandez got in to trouble in the first inning and didn’t get out of it until after Nolan Reimold’s misplay of a fly ball to deep left field which plated two runs.

Hernandez was however able to work in to the sixth inning but did give up a career high five runs, all earned. The Mariners were led by former Oriole pitcher Erik Bedard who didn’t get into trouble until the seventh inning when the O’s loaded the bases with one out. Unfortunately, mega-prospect Matt Wieters grounded into a double play and the O’s took an ugly 8-2 loss.

Rookie Brad Bergesen continued his string of good looking lines when he went seven strong innings of two-run ball. Bergesen and the rest of the rookies have proved to be a true bright spot in the rotation and a reason why commentators around the sports world are giving the Orioles some long-awaited respect.

With three starters going at least seven innings in the last four games, the Orioles bullpen have gotten a much deserved rest and with tonight off, everyone should be well rested come Friday in Oakland. However, Jamie Walker shouldn’t worry about that because he won’t be pitching for the Orioles I imagine unless we are down by 10 in the second inning. Is anyone else wondering if they’ll just release this guy and move one of the young guns to the bullpen when Koji Uehara comes back? Post your thoughts here.
Not-so-fun-fact: The Orioles have only scored five runs in their last four games (1-3)

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