Remember when you felt this way all the time? Remember when your baseball team always made you feel that anything was possible and everything was good? You hadn’t forgotten. It wasn’t that long ago. But it certainly got a layer of dust on it this season, waiting to be brought out into the light again. This weekend it definitely came off the shelf. All it took was one big trade and three games against an unfortunate baseball team. It’s not so hard.
The headline today, of course, is that it was Jose Quintana’s debut—and it really couldn’t have gone any better. It’s a good time to put in a heat check, as getting the Orioles to swing and miss a lot is just as easy as getting man babies to cry about a female being cast in a traditionally male role, especially in science fiction (TOPICAL!). Q was masterful, spotting his fastball on both sides of the plate and getting real tilt on that curve, which I had expressed some concern over on the trade day. He threw them about a third of the time and got whiffs on over a third of the ones he threw, which you can’t argue with. More to the point, he got whiffs on 75 percent of the swings that pitch produced. That’s good. I like it. I’m satisfied.
Q is not a high-strikeout guy normally, though he’s having a career high in that this season, but the Orioles are always a good opponent to do an impression of one. You shouldn’t expect 12 Ks per game, but this kind of control and command is his thing to induce weak contact.
As for the offense, they certainly weren’t responsible for Friday’s hiccup, so 27 runs over three games will certainly play. Strangely, it’s not the most they’ve produced in a three-game stretch this season, but it is the most in one series. Everyone got in on the act, and that didn’t stop today. Only Addison Russell didn’t have a hit today, and he was Friday’s hero so he gets a pass. Like I said in my series preview, when you have to toss Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jimenez out there on a regular basis with a straight face, it’s not a place you want to be. And now you see why the O’s are sinking in the AL East like a mob snitch in the East River.
– Willson Contreras has a 1.128 OPS in July. I think that’s good.
– Heyward piled up another two hits today, giving him six in the series. Again, I don’t want to claim “revival” when it’s just beating up on Baltimore, but it’s at least positive. Still, would like to see him driving more to left field, but today is not a day for complaining.
– Kris Bryant has three multi-hit games in the past six. In those games, the Cubs have scored 30 runs. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. It’s not that Bryant has been bad, he just hadn’t made a lot of loud noises in June. He was getting on base enough, singling and walking to keep the numbers looking decent. But the Cubs definitely need the dude who eats worlds more, and they’re getting it again.
Lead photo courtesy Evan Habeeb—USA Today Sports