It’s tough to pitch better than John Means once again did this evening. This time it came against Boston, of course the defending World Series Champion. If you’re going to play games against the defending champs, you may as well win them. Means put them in a spot to do that this evening. Means’ line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K.
Means kept Boston hitters guessing all game long. And that began in the first inning, when he sent them down 1-2-3. But they were never quite able to figure Means out, and it showed in the result.
Jonathan Villar hit what appeared to be a lead off homer in the first inning. However upon review it was ruled that a fan had impeded the Boston outfielder from getting to the ball. Villar was called out. One almost thought this was the Kentucky Derby!
However Villar wasn’t going to be kept off the board tonight. The Birds loaded the bases with nobody down in the second inning, and Villar came to bat with two down. He smacked a grand slam to center, giving the O’s a 4-0 lead. You can’t score more than four runs at a time, but the Orioles managed to do just that.
Boston would get one across in the fifth on a sac fly-RBI. But that was as close as they got. As I said, John Means was dominant tonight. So was the Orioles’ bullpen. Combined, they held a potent lineup to three hits.
Means is showing a lot of promise. It goes without saying that he’ll hit a bump in the road at some point. But he shut down one of the best lineups in baseball last night. Despite still being young, he may be the best starter that the Orioles have right now.