The Baltimore Orioles for the past year and half have been a team full of surprises and revelations.
When the organization signed Freddy Garcia, I knew we had a veteran who has been around the league, had some success and was at the twilight of their career.
Freddy Garcia was once a fireballer, but now he is a guy who relies on finesse and command to succeed.
There’s a reason why guys like him seem to stick around forever, and a prime example of that notion came last night during a sweltering May night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Last night, he delivered a performance that the Orioles sorely needed. He threw shutout innings, gave up only three hits and struck out six as the Orioles defeated the Washington Nationals, 2-0.
The Orioles took three of four from the Nationals, and their record stands at 30-24.
Back to Garcia: the burly veteran kept the National bats quiet by mixing up his pitches and using his splitter to get guys out. Even more impressive, he retired 14 straight at one point and ended the night with seven consecutive outs.
Unlike the slugfests we’re all seen this week, Thursday’s game resembled a pitching duel from back in the day.
The Washington squad seemingly had no chance against Garcia. Dan Haren pitched well for them, but their offense could not produce anything at all. They were expected to be contenders for a World Series spot during the winter; however, they are only 27-27 and have had offensive struggles all season.
The other good news from last night has got to be Jim Johnson. I forgot to mention him yesterday, but he threw a 1-2-3 inning on Wednesday night to close out that game, and pitched a perfect ninth yesterday to earn his 17th save.
Hopefully Johnson is back on track after a bump in the road this month. Speaking of Johnson, the bullpen came through big time on Wednesday as Steve Johnson, Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball.
Baltimore’s runs came off doubles by Nick Markakis in the third inning and Manny Machado in the eighth.