There's nothing impressive at all about a veteran pitcher throwing 100 pitches and only making it three batters into the sixth inning as Kevin Millwood did Opening Day in Tampa.
What was impressive was that the gruff righty made that exact point quite clear in his post-game comments. Though he said he felt good throwing the ball and was glad to keep the game close, giving up just two earned runs in the outing, he called the performance "below average" the next day on MASN's Wired Wednesday segment.
It was refreshing to hear an Oriole admit that going five innings, regardless of how many runs he gave up, is not acceptable. Last season, I personally grew tired of pitchers saying they "overall felt good out there" after not getting out of the sixth inning.
Millwood is going to be a great presence on this team. He may not realize it, but by saying those types of post-game comments, he is influencing the young pitchers and is setting a standard. We've heard the clichÃƒÂ© "change the losing culture in the clubhouse" so many times last year. Millwood is one of the first players I really see trying to do that.
As Roch Kubatko pointed out in one of his blogs on Wednesday, Gonzalez was waiting for reporters at his locker when we were allowed in the clubhouse after the game. He knew he would be held accountable by the fans and media, and he was man enough to take the initiative.
Fans would be surprised how many players are nowhere to be found after a game in the time frame in which media are allowed in the clubhouse. It says a lot about a player as a person when they show a willingness to give comments that will reach the people who pay their salary - the fans.
Over the next couple weeks it'll be nice to continue to get to know the new Orioles, and as far as character is concerned, advantage Millwood and Gonzalez. Now as far as pitiching is concerned. Let's see some better results on the mound.
Also, before I end this this new blog, I just wanted to thank Steve D. and George for pointing out the typo in my last article. Of course the O's were 0-21 in 1988. And Steve, I'm glad they weren't 0-22, because it's nice to know you didn't jump off a bridge that year.