Revisiting last night’s game and Strop’s season

Nolan Reimold went 0-for-3 last night, which wouldn’t be worth mentioning if he started in left field. But every failed at-bat by an Orioles designated hitter is magnified over these first few weeks of the season.

The club’s designated hitters are 3-for-43, which works out to a .070 average. The unit has one RBI.

That’s not much production when the word “hitters” is included in the name.

A few more notes from last night:

Nate McLouth is 4-for-12 with three doubles and three runs scored in his last three games. The Orioles are 4-1 when McLouth scores.

Matt Wieters has 12 home runs against Tampa Bay, the most versus any opponent over his career. He’s hit 10 against the New York Yankees.

Nick Markakis has hit in 11 of the Orioles’ 13 games. He has multiple hits in all four home games.

The Orioles won last night for the first time when they didn’t score first.

The Orioles have seven stolen bases in eight attempts. They’ve thrown out six of seven runners attempting to steal.

The Rays are 4-9, matching their worst 13-game start in franchise history. They also were 4-9 in 2001 and 2005.

Pedro Strop struck out Sean Rodriguez and retired Desmond Jennings on a ground ball to close the top of the seventh inning last night, but he gave up home runs to Kelly Johnson and Evan Longoria in the eighth, leading some fans to complain about how lousy he’s been and suggest that he never be allowed near the bullpen. Or the ballpark. Or the Maryland state line.

I checked his numbers for this season, and he hadn’t allowed a run since his first appearance. Four straight scoreless, with only one hit, no walks and three strikeouts.

In that first outing, he was burned twice by the shift at Tropicana Field. A bunt single and a ground ball that should have been a double play to short. I gave him a pass on that one.

Strop allowed three inherited runners to score on April 12 against the Yankees, but he induced a fly ball to center field that Adam Jones dropped. Remember Bubblegate?

So how does he feel about his season after 13 games?

“Results-wise, I’m not happy, but before this game tonight, I was locating the ball well,” he said. “Some things happened, but I was feeling good, making my pitches. Tonight, I just missed two pitches.”

Like any reliever, Strop has to shake off a poor outing and be ready to take the ball again when it’s handed to him.

“Of course,” he said. “We don’t have much time as relievers. We don’t have much time to be thinking of it. You’ve got to come right back and pitch. I’m just going to be ready for tomorrow.”

Strop dominated in the World Baseball Classic, winning three games for the Dominican Republic while not allowing a run or walking a batter over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven. And he pitched much better at The Trop than his line indicated.

OK, last night didn’t go swimmingly for Strop. I think he should be allowed back in the bullpen tonight. Also, the ballpark and the state of Maryland. All of them.

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