Here is the Orioles’ quicky scouting report tonight in facing Toronto lefty Ricky Romero, who is 5-1 with an ERA of 3.86 over 10 starts.
He has never given up fewer hits but more walks. Patience and taking some pitches, not too often an O’s team trait on offense, could be important in this game.
First off, Romero is tough to hit with very good stuff. The American League is batting just .208 against him, and he is allowing a career-low 6.6 hits per nine innings.
But he has walked 37 in 65 1/3 frames on the year, and his rate of walks per nine innings is up from last year’s 3.2 to 5.1 now, the worst rate of his career. Over his last four starts, Romero has walked 21 in 23 1/3 innings.
Romero is tied for second in the AL in walks given up, and he is tied for fifth in lowest opponent batting average. Tough to hit but much easier to get a walk against.
In his last start, against Tampa Bay over six innings, he gave up just two hits and four runs, but issued seven walks. Yes, that is a strange pitching line.
Romero has been tough on the Orioles:
* He was 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts last year.
* He is 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his last eight starts since 2010.
* He is 6-3 with a 3.10 ERA in 12 career starts.
The Orioles have not seen Romero walk many against them over the years, as he has issued just 28 free passes in 87 career innings against Baltimore.
Meanwhile, a lot of O’s fans are looking for Jake Arrieta to help end the Orioles’ run of six losses in eight games tonight. But Arrieta is just 0-3 with an ERA of 7.15 over his past four starts.
Also, the Orioles need to get an offense going that has produced just seven runs and a team average of .228 during a three-game losing streak. The Orioles have left 27 on the bases and are just 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position during that time.
Update: Maybe the combination of Romero being motivated to pound the zone after his last start and a sometimes big strike zone of umpire Doug Eddings behind the plate has cut down on his walks tonight, as he issued just one in the first four frames.
Adam Jones hit a solo homer to right in the second inning to give the O’s a 1-0 lead. It was his 15th homer of the year and extended his hitting streak to 20 games. That matches the longest by an Oriole since Brian Roberts hit in 20 straight in May of 2005.
Toronto scored twice in the last of the third and leads this game 2-1 after three and a half at Rogers Centre. The Orioles stranded a runner at second in the fourth and are 0-for-3 so far tonight with runners in scoring position.