Written by Chris Slade
Today's afternoon matchup pitted Scott Feldman (4-3, 4.56) against Yankees righthander Ivan Nova (7-4, 3.14). We had ourselves a good old fashioned pitchers duel in this game. The Yanks were able to take an early 1-0 lead in the 1st with Brett Gardner leading the game off with a double followed by a Robinson Cano RBI single. Feldman settled in nicely, not allowing another base hit until the 5th inning when Lyle Overbay led off with a single. Feldman would pitch out of jams in the 5th, 6th, and 7th to hold the Yankees to one run over 7 innings. The Orioles bats had a hard time mustering anything against Nova through the first five innings and that would be the case for the rest of the game. A Robinson Cano home run in the 8th gave Nova cushion to work with as he entered the 9th and finished off an impressive (but frustrating) three-hit shutout.
Scott Feldman took the mound today, entering the game with a 2-0 record and a 2.12 ERA in his last three outings. How would he fare? Very good. In fact, this was his best outing since joining the Orioles, in my opinion. After allowing a run in the first, Feldman settled in nicely, cruising through innings two, three, and four with no trouble. In the 2nd inning, he struck out Mark Reynolds on a uper 80's cutter out of the zone and got Ichiro to wiff on a nasty curve that bounced off home plate.
Especially early in the game, Scott Feldman's curveball was as good as I've seen it. At one point in the middle innings, he got five consecutive swinging strikes with the pitch. He was able to retire (via swinging strikeout) Ichiro, Gardner, and Alfonso Soriano twice on the low-to-mid 70's offering with good late drop out of the strike zone.
Feldman ran into some trouble in the 5th after Lyle Overbay and Gardner singled to put runners on first and third with one out. Not to worry, Feldman induced Derek Jeter into an inning ending double play. Feldman ran into trouble again in the 6th when Granderson doubled with two outs followed by a walk to Reynolds. An Ichiro flyout prevented any scoring. Once again, Feldman faced some trouble in the 7th, but battled through fatigue to finish his outing on a strong note by getting the corpse of Derek Jeter to ground weakly into an inning endning double play once more.
Feldman had an 11-to-3 Groundout/Air out ratio on the day and threw 111 pitches over 7 innings. Impressive. Down just 1-0, Feldman left the game giving the Orioles a great chance to win if they could just come up with a two run homer or something. Unfortunately, the hitters were shutout.
Final Line: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, Loss
Troy Patton, the lefty specialist, was brought on to face Robinson Cano in the 8th inning. Cano promptly deposited a Patton fastball into the right field seats, reminding us once again he is matchup proof.
Patton exited the game as Buck signaled for the young fireballer Kevin Gausman to enter the game. Gausman did not dissapoint, sitting 97-99 MPH with his fastball (assuming the stadium gun is accurate) while mixing in a few nasty 84 mph changeups. He retired the side, striking out Soriano and Reynolds.
Not much to discuss about the hitters so I'll talk about Ivan Nova and why he was effective. I can count on my hand the number of mistake pitches Nova made. Aside from a couple hit batters, Nova had Grade A command of his stuff throughout the entire game. Nova cruised in this game, only throwing a total of 104 pitches, consistently poundng the lower half of the zone with a 91-94 MPH two seam fastball and an upper 70's curveball with sharp 1-7 movement. As frustrating as it was to watch, I've got to give credit to Nova for being able to throw his curveball for a quality strike in any count, seemingly at will. Combine that with a sinking fastball that he also did a great job of staying on top of and it's going to be a difficult day for any lineup to square him up with any consistency and score multiple runs.
The only well hit ball award goes to Manny Machado who hit a line drive single with two outs in the 6th off the rare mistake high and inside fastball from Nova. Chris Davis then struck out on a well placed curveball out of the strike zone to end the inning.
Nate McLouth and Matt Wieters registered the other two hits. Wieters hit came in the 2nd on a bloop to right field and McLouth came in the 9th on a weak grounder that Nova misplayed and wasn't able to locate on the ground for a split second.
Young Manuel made the rare throwing miscue in the third on a Derek jeter groundball to third.
The Orioles turned two key inning ending double plays. The first took place in the fifth and was fielded by Roberts who flipped the ball to second where J.J. Hardy made an impressive turn avoiding the diving Gardner and throwing a bullet to Davis at first. Another double play off the bat of Jeter was turned in the 7th, once again fielded by Roberts and flipped to Hardy at second.
Key Moments In The Game
The Cano homer. Even though they were down just 2-0, runs were so hard to come by in this game that the Cano made the game feel out of reach heading into the 9th.
Steve Pearce is having left wrist inflammation again so he headed back to the 15 Day DL today to conveniently make room for Michael Morse.
I only notice things like this but I couldn't help but laugh in the 8th inning when former Oriole Mark Reynolds called timeout during his bat after a failed spit attempt left him needing to wipe off his chin.
I found this stat courtesy of Steve Melewski: Opponent batters hit just .101 (7-for-69) against him when the count is 2-0, that is the best mark in the majors. Fascinating. I don't have an explanation.
The Orioles finish the month of August with a 12-14 record. Very dissapointing month that leaves us on the outside looking in heading into September.
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