While wondering exactly when Carl Crawford stopped being good ...
There were plenty of things to like about last night's 4-1 win over the Red Sox, and we pretty much covered all of them over the course of the evening.
I'll go back to that 11-pitch at-bat from Adam Jones in the second inning. He struck out, but he also seemed to get Clay Buchholz out of rhythm after the Boston right-hander had retired the first five batters on only nine pitches.
You can see Jones maturing offensively. He's taking pitches that miss outside - not all the time, but more than we've been accustomed to in the past - and also driving the ball to right field. He's working the count. He seems a little more disciplined at the plate.
As soon as Jim Johnson struck out Dustin Pedroia to end the seventh inning, I checked the Orioles' bullpen to see whether Koji Uehara was getting up. Manager Buck Showalter pulled Johnson in another game after eight pitches, but not this time. Johnson returned for the eighth and struck out two more batters, raising his total to four.
Johnson has nasty, nasty stuff. He's throwing 94 mph fastballs that are heavier than Matt Albers. Try hitting a bowling ball with a Wiffle Ball bat.
Zach Britton has no fear. I'm just as impressed with his attitude and presence on the mound as I am his stuff, which also is nasty.
Showalter is very reserved in his praise for Britton. He's dishing it out with a teaspoon. But that's just his way. Showalter knows what he's got in Britton.
Don't look now, but Kevin Gregg hasn't allowed a hit in three straight scoreless appearances, and he's recorded two saves in that span.
Feeling a little better about this guy?
I'm just not sure I'd want AC/DC's T.N.T as my entrance music.
"Watch me explode."
Is that better than implode?
As for tonight's game, the Orioles will try to cool off Josh Beckett, who's 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA, nine walks, 28 strikeouts and a 0.79 WHIP.
Beckett has allowed only three runs and eight hits in his last three starts covering 23 innings, with four walks and 14 strikeouts. He's 6-3 with a 3.53 ERA lifetime against the Orioles, with 19 walks and 82 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings.
Derrek Lee had two hits last night, perhaps a sign that he's heating up, and he's 3-for-6 with a double, two homers and two RBIs lifetime against Beckett.
Luke Scott is 9-for-20 with two homers and five RBIs. Nick Markakis is hitting .308 with three doubles, a homer and five RBIs in 39 at-bats. Brian Roberts is hitting .300 with five doubles, a homer and four RBIs in 40 at-bats.
Beckett threw 125 pitches in his last start. Maybe he'll wear down. Maybe a few guys can work him for an 11-pitch at-bat.
Jeremy Guthrie is 1-7 with a 4.94 ERA in 15 career appearances (14 starts) against the Red Sox.
The matchup might not look good on paper, but the Red Sox won eight of nine games before last night, and the Orioles lost 11 of 13.
You know what happened.