I’m the first one to tell you that I raised an eyebrow at the Baltimore Orioles giving Jayson Aquino his first start last night (and his big league debut). The Orioles also had Asher, who looked very good last week – I personally thought that he should have started. However that’s why they pay Buck Showalter to make these decisions and not me…
…Aquino proved that he belonged and proved why I’m a writer and Showalter’s the manager. Aquino’s line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K. It’s tough to have a better first start and major league debut than that. Aquino continued the Orioles’ string of quality starts, and put his team in a spot to win.
They did have to play just a bit of catch-up however, as Boston took a 2-0 lead on Bradley’s two-run homer in the third inning. Incidentally, all of this was pushed back about a half hour, as the game actually began with a 30-minute rain delay. Quite frankly it’s almost miraculous that the delay lasted only thirty minutes, as it rained all day in Baltimore.
But the Orioles battled back on inning later in the last of the fourth. Trey Mancini tied the score as abruptly as Boston had taken the lead with a two-run homer of his own. And the Orioles decided to go back-to-back with the home runs, as Jonathan Schoop added a solo shot just a moment later which gave the O’s the lead at 3-2.
Just for good measure, they decided to add a run without smacking the ball out of the ballpark later in the inning on Adam Jones‘ RBI-single. And when you get solid pitching (both starting as well as out of the ‘pen), that’s all you need. Get yourself a nice little two-run lead, and you’re good to go. Boston never really threatened, and the Orioles took game two, which guarantees them another series victory.
We still have to throw in the disclaimer that it’s very early in the season. The Orioles have only played 16 games, which incidentally is less than what most other teams have played. But remember what I kept saying throughout spring training: if you’re going to play these spring games, you might as well win them. The same is true of these early season games, the only difference being of course that they actually count.
So yes it’s still very early, and there’s a long way to go. But at 12-4, the Orioles have the best record in baseball. Not only that, but they’re playing good ball right now, and winning games by fighting and battling. Most importantly, they’ve started to get very good starting pitching, which is the best way to win games in MLB.
And they’ll try to keep that string of quality starts going this afternoon in the series finale against Boston at Camden Yards. Kevin Gausman will head to the mound for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.