Posts Tagged ‘Tom Brewer’

Lester has started opposite the Orioles seventeen times in his career.  He remains undefeated.  14-0 with a 2.33 ERA, and as a team we are sixteen and one in those seventeen games.  That’s the longest ongoing streak by any pitcher against any team.  Tom Brewer was our last pitcher to win fourteen consecutive starts against one team.  He did it from 1954 through 1957 against the Athletics, both the Philadelphia and Kansas City varieties.  (To clarify, that was the same team.  They just moved around a bit before finally settling in Oakland.)

So you obviously know that he picked up the win.  He fired eight solid innings to do it.  He gave up two runs on four hits.  He walked three and struck out five.  The only complaint I would have with his outing is that he should be lower on walks and higher on strikeouts.  But again, if that’s the extent of his April badness this year, I will most definitely take it.  Besides, he threw 108 pitches total across eight innings, and he only walked three, so it’s not like he was being inefficient.  He just recorded outs through other means, that’s all.

Sixty-four of his pitches were strikes.  His most effective pitch by far was his changeup.  All but two of his changeups were strikes.  His curveball and sinker were also working, but he’s still looking for that extra life on his cut fastball.  It hasn’t been as effective as it’s going to be soon, I suspect.  He doesn’t have a velocity problem; he got it up to ninety-four.  It’s just a movement issue.  His cut fastball is his everything pitch.  It’s his pitch to start at-bats and end at-bats.  It’s his pitch to get out of jams and just generally display mastery.  That’s not to say he isn’t versatile.  That’s only to say that it’s understandable that, although his outings lately have been great by anyone’s standards, they haven’t been truly great by our standards because we know what he’s capable of doing at his best.  When your signature pitch isn’t quite right, neither is your outing, for one reason or another.

He threw twenty-one pitches in the first.  He gave up a walk and two consecutive singles that inning to allow his first run.  but he settled down after that.  He only threw nine in the fifth.  The other run was scored via the homer; Vladimir Guerrero hit a ninety-one mile-per-hour cut fastball out.  (We’ve known this for a while, but I’d just like to specifically point out that Vladimir Guerrero is now playing for the Orioles.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.) Paps came on for the ninth and did a fine job.  No save necessary.

The final score was 6-2.  Six runs is a pretty low total for a team that racked up thirteen hits to the opposition’s four and that recorded four multi-hit games: Ellsbury and Gonzalez both went three for five, and Pedroia and Papi both went two for five.  One explanation might be that only four of our thirteen hits were for extra bases, and they were all doubles.  Gonzalez hit two of them, so he clearly had a great night.  And two were hit in the first inning; Ellsbury led off the game with a double, and after Pedroia struck out, Gonzalez doubled him home.  There was a similar outcome in the third; Ellsbury singled, and after Pedroia grounded out, Gonzalez singled him home.  Crawford led off the seventh with a double and came home on a single by Pedroia.

And then we got busy in the eighth.  Youk led off the inning with a walk.  Papi singled.  Cameron pinch-hit for Drew and walked.  Youk came around on a single by Salty.  Two outs later, Ellsbury brought home Papi and Cameron on a single.

We left nine men on base and went five for sixteen with runners in scoring position.  Nobody hit his way past second base.  But we manufactured runs when we needed to and won with a four-run lead.  When you play the Orioles, you just expect to score more.  Then again, when you play the Orioles, you don’t expect to lose the series, but at least we weren’t swept.  And at least we’re no longer in last place.  The Orioles are now in last place.  We’re in second-to-last place.  But at least we’re moving up.  And Youk left the game in the bottom of the eighth with a sore left hip.  At least he stayed in the game for as long as he could; he jammed his hip on a slide into first base in the first inning.  Luckily, all signs point to his return tonight, when we go home to host the Mariners.

AP Photo

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