Miguel Gonzalez was credited with the win yesterday and Tommy Hunter recorded the save, but Zach Britton garnered lots of attention following the Orioles’ 3-0 win over the Rays.
His three scoreless innings raised his total to 11 1/3, with only four hits allowed in six outings. His sinker and renewed confidence are the talk of the clubhouse.
“He’s been phenomenal,” Gonzalez said. “I’m happy for him. He’s got what he had in (2011) now. He worked hard this offseason and it’s paid off.”
The hard work also is a common theme. This didn’t happen by accident.
Should the Orioles continue to stretch him out and put him in the rotation? I’m a firm believer in the “if it ain’t broke” philosophy. The Orioles are a better team right now with Britton working out of the bullpen. And they aren’t going to replace one of their starters in the first month of the season
Forget about Ubaldo Jimenez being demoted. Not after three starts. Not after signing a four-year, $50 million contract. It’s not happening.
How will the Orioles make room for left-hander Troy Patton once he’s eligible to return at the end of the month?
There’s simply no room at the moment. Ryan Webb and Evan Meek have options, but they’re not going anywhere. How will this work?
The Orioles are off today and will head to Boston for a four-game series beginning on Friday. They better pack warm clothes. I better take my own advice, since I’m on the trip.
The Orioles are like Forrest Gump this year, present at every newsworthy event. Derek Jeter’s last opening day at Yankee Stadium. Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium. A Red Sox series one year after the Boston Marathon bombings.
“Last year, what happened in the marathon, it was sad,” Gonzalez said. “It’s going to be a huge series against them. We’re here to help out. Whatever they need. Just go out and have fun.”
Chris Davis and David Lough are tied for the team lead in stolen bases with two. Steve Lombardozzi has the other theft.
“I’d rather steal bases at a high percentage instead of just recklessly running around,” said manager Buck Showalter. “If it’s there, we’re going to try to take it.”
Davis has more steals than home runs. Baseball is a funny game.
Nick Markakis made a diving catch in the fourth inning yesterday and threw to second base to double off James Loney. It’s easy to take his defense for granted, but he still plays a mean right field.
“Nicky is really good at that,” Showalter said. “He was upset a couple days ago. He said it was the first time he’s ever had a ball come out of his glove like that. He didn’t have time to shut it all the way before it bounced. But how many times have we seen him do that?
“He won’t tell you, but I’ll tell you that play with the sun, that’s a difficult play. A lot of guys would overrun that ball. You could see the wind was moving around the ball some today.”
My favorite postgame moment yesterday occurred at Hunter’s locker. As he concluded his interview with me - insisting on standing up to show respect that I appreciated but didn’t deem necessary - he made certain that I noticed the orange LUNGevity T-shirt that he wore to honor former public relations director Monica Barlow.
Hunter said the team will continue to wear the shirts.
“Always,” he said. “She was ours. She was with us, too.”
Tugging on the shirt and smiling, Hunter said, “We liked her. A lot.”