Here are my final thoughts on the Birds’ 6-0 victory over Tampa Bay tonight:
– Jeremy Guthrie pitched well, turning in six shutout innings. His velocity was right around 91-92 miles per hour according to the stadium radar gun, which should ease some concern about his health entering the season.
After a terrible spring, Guthrie is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. He would probably be no more than a good third starter on a contending team, but the Orioles are certainly glad to have him at the top of the rotation with so many question marks behind him.
– Melvin Mora’s first-inning grand slam was the third of his career and his 82nd career home run at Camden Yards, fourth all-time. Only Rafael Palmeiro (124), Brady Anderson (91), and Cal Ripken (85) are in front of him.
– Jamie Walker looked like the pitcher from two seasons ago in his 1 1/3 innings, striking out one and getting Evan Longoria to ground into a double play in the eighth. The left-handed specialist would be a huge lift to the bullpen if he can regain his 2007 form.
– Chris Ray struck out the side in the ninth inning and looked very impressive. His slider was especially effective in fooling Tampa Bay hitters.
His velocity was up to 94 miles per hour tonight, an improvement from his last appearance but still not where he was a couple seasons ago. Overall, it was an encouraging outing for the 27-year old right-hander.
– The Orioles will be faced with a roster decision tomorrow when Adam Eaton is expected to make his first start of the season. My best guess is the club attempts to sneak Brian Bass through waivers.
(UPDATE: Roch Kubatko is reporting the Orioles will option Matt Albers to Triple-A Norfolk. The move makes sense, as the Orioles will likely need several long relievers throughout the season due to the shaky rotation. This allows Bass to give the team some more innings without exposing him to waivers. Albers will probably be back sooner rather than later.)
– Two series wins against the Yankees and the Rays to begin the season. Not a bad start against two of the best teams in the American League.
We’ll see if the Orioles (4-1) can earn the sweep tomorrow before starting a seven-game road trip.