I thought one of the coolest things from last night's game was when MASN cameras showed Will Ohman aggressively clapping into his glove in the bullpen when Orioles manager Dave Trembley went to the mound and decided to let Jeremy Guthrie face Grady Sizemore for the final out in the eighth inning. Ohman was ready in the bullpen if needed. The left-hander always wants the ball, but I'm sure he appreciated Trembley allowing Guthrie to stay out there for one more batter. Guthrie deserved that, and he also deserved the partial standing ovation he got after retiring Sizemore.
Speaking of Guthrie, here are his numbers through eight starts this year compared with his first eight starts of 2009.
This year: 2-4, 4.13 ERA, 52 1/3 IP, 24 ER, 46 hits, 6 HRs, 10 BBs, 30 Ks
Last year: 3-3, 5.21 ERA, 46 2/3 IP, 27 ER, 53 hits, 8 HRs, 16 BBs, 29 Ks
I think he best summed up the difference in how he feels after last night's game when he said: "I felt at the end of spring, with the adjustment that I made arm-slot-wise, I felt like when I pitched, I had weapons to use against the hitters, and that's something I never really felt last year, or certainly not in a consistent way. That's the biggest thing, I'm confident. I feel like I have the pitches to get people out, and that's important."
One thing I'm not sure television cameras caught was the quick stare Nick Markakis shot across the diamond at Adam Jones, who didn't score from third on a ground ball to first in the third inning. It was a typically subtle gesture from Markakis, who exhibits little emotion and never shows up teammates. But the point needed to be made, and it certainly was reinforced when third base coach Juan Samuel gave Jones an animated lecture after the base runner decided to freeze several steps off third. Jones, who is normally a pretty good base runner and knows he erred on the play, apologized profusely to Markakis, and the two walked out of the clubhouse together last night. I'm sure they'll laugh about it in the future, unless Markakis finishes the season with 99 RBIs.
First baseman Garrett Atkins was taking ground balls at third base before last night's game, but I wouldn't read too much into it. Trembley said that Atkins, who was primarily a third baseman with the Colorado Rockies before being moved across the diamond by the Orioles, was doing that on his own. Atkins, meanwhile, said he was doing it just to keep busy and get some work in.
Speaking of first base, my colleague, Dan Connolly, wrote a blurb in today's Orioles notebook that the Orioles don't currently have interest in corner infielders Ryan Garko and Hank Blalock. I think it's possible that the Orioles revisit the idea of Blalock, whom they had tepid interest in this past offseason, but right now, they seem to be fine with what they have. It would be a good idea for Atkins to start hitting because if Brian Roberts comes back in 3 1/2 weeks as the second baseman hopes to, you would think Ty Wigginton would be moved to first on a regular basis. Rhyne Hughes' roster spot also might be in jeopardy if he doesn't start having a few productive at-bats.