Scott Feldman makes his Orioles home debut tonight and it just happens to come against the Texas Rangers, his team for the first eight seasons of his major league career.
Feldman is familiar with Camden Yards, having gone 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in seven appearances over 21 2/3 innings. In three starts, he’s 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA and two quality starts in 17 2/3 innings.
Feldman faced the Rangers on May 6 and shut them out on two hits over seven innings. Now he gets them again in Baltimore.
Adrian Beltre is 2-for-19 against Feldman, though one of those hits is a home run.
The Orioles will see left-hander Derek Holland, who’s 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA in five career games against them, including four starts. He’s 2-1 with a 3.44 ERA in four games (three starts) at Camden Yards.
Nick Markakis is 4-for-11 with a triple against Holland. Adam Jones is 1-for-10 with six strikeouts.
Markakis could return to the leadoff spot against a southpaw. He’s batting .337 in 23 games atop the order.
The Orioles are 14-12 against left-handed starters. Yesterday’s 2-1 win over the Yankees improved their record to 13-14 in one-run games.
“The guys the last two years, 20 months, have really been honed into grinding day and night,” said center fielder Adam Jones. “In a cohesive unit, you have to do that. One link of the chain is messing up, we’re all messed up. We all try and pick each other up. We just have one common goal with everybody. It doesn’t matter how. It doesn’t matter the city. We just want to win.”
Closer Jim Johnson just wants to get through a game without having a group of reporters following him to his locker. He’s a standup guy who doesn’t hide after a poor outing, but it was obvious that he preferred to avoid the spotlight yesterday after recording his 30th save.
It didn’t seem fair to avoid him yesterday after a 1-2-3 inning. Closers shouldn’t be targeted by the media only after blown saves.
Johnson’s velocity and location were good yesterday. One ball got away from him and almost hit Eduardo Nunez with two outs. Otherwise, he was in total control, and the Orioles were able to avoid losing all three games in the Bronx.
“You don’t want to get swept any time,” Johnson said. “Your first goal is always to win the first game or win the series and then if it doesn’t work out and we lose the first two of the series, you’ve got to try and find a way. And it came down to the last inning of the last game of the series. Obviously, it wasn’t the kind of road trip we wanted. But hopefully, it gives us a little bit of momentum going home.”
“It’s big,” Markakis said. “You don’t want to go out there and get swept, especially against a team in your division. Those are the games that you need to win and focus on mostly. With the way (Hiroki) Kuroda threw the ball and the conditions, we’ll take it.
“We know what division we’re in. We know what teams we’re facing. We know what we’re up against. We’ve got to battle. It’s a long season. We play a lot of games against these guys, a lot of games against these teams in this division. Everybody’s good. Like I’ve said, you have to go out there and battle, grind and do the best you can.”
And shake off the bad calls that seem to follow the Orioles to every city.
Second base umpire Gary Darling ruled yesterday that shortstop J.J. Hardy missed the tag on Chris Stewart on a seventh inning steal. Replays showed that Darling was wrong. Hardy knew it all along. He didn’t need a replay. He was absolutely positive that he slapped the tag on Stewart’s leg.
Again, manager Buck Showalter raced out of the dugout to argue. He’s logged a lot of miles during the first half of the season.
Showalter claimed yesterday that he didn’t know first baseman Chris Davis had received the most All-Star votes.
“So they counted my votes, the whole Showalter family,” he said. “We were the difference-makers.”