Chris Dickerson was 1-for-8 as an Oriole before manager Buck Showalter decided to give him the start in right field tonight. He hadn’t started since April 20.
Showalter must have played a hunch. He may want to swing by Atlantic City on his way back to Baltimore.
Dickerson is 3-for-3 tonight, and his two-run single in the sixth inning increased the Orioles’ lead to 6-0.
Dickerson isn’t tearing the cover off the ball. The “damage” includes a bunt single and a bloop into center field, but they count just the same as three scorching line drives.
Ryan Flaherty doubled, moving J.J. Hardy to third base, before Dickerson’s two-run single. Flaherty is only 7-for-55 this season, but he’s collected a hit in four of his last six games.
Look for the positives.
Jason Hammel has battled all night, mostly with his own command. He hasn’t registered a clean inning among his five and his pitch count is up to 90 - including 53 strikes - but he’s shutting out the Mariners on four hits. He’s walked three and struck out five.
Hammel has gone exactly six innings in four of his five starts. He worked 6 2/3 in the other one.
He will be hard-pressed to make it through seven innings tonight unless he’s ridiculously economical in the sixth. The Mariners better come out swinging.
In two previous starts at Safeco Field, Hammel is 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 12 2/3 innings.
Update: Hammel didn’t record an out in the sixth and left with his pitch count at 102.
Michael Morse homered to break up the shutout, and two straight singles ended Hammel’s night.
I’m surprised that Showalter would go back to Hunter tonight after the right-hander worked the final two innings last night.
Another single loaded the bases with no outs. Hammel was charged with his second run on Kelly Shoppach’s fielder’s choice grounder to short, but that was the extent of the damage. Brendan Ryan grounded into a double play.
Nice job by Hunter. The single off him was a ground ball up the middle. Not much he could do about it.
Hammel has a chance to improve to 4-1, but his command certainly is lacking.
Update II: Showalter has used four relievers and we still have another inning to play.
Brian Matusz stranded two runners to end the eighth. He’s stranded all 26 inherited since moving to the bullpen on Aug. 24.
Darren O’Day has allowed one earned run in his last 27 1/3 innings, including the postseason, since Sept. 18.
Update III: It’s finally over.
That’s what...never mind.
The Orioles have now won 104 consecutive regular season games when leading after seven innings.
The only issue tonight is the use of four relievers. It shouldn’t have been this difficult, given the score. Not to sound like a broken record, but the starters need to get deeper into games.
Props to Matusz for bouncing back nicely after Sunday’s outing. He had nasty, nasty stuff tonight. Lefties were completely overmatched.