April 8, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy (2) hits a solo home run in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
You have to respect Anthony Swarzak. He's never been a guy with the best stuff, but he continues to get results. He's never been the guy that management has tabbed as having a specific role, but he continues to do exactly what they ask of him. This afternoon he was more than solid, throwing five innings of one-run baseball.
J.J. Hardy's solo home run in the bottom of the first was all the Orioles got from Swarzak, as he scattered four hits across five frames. He only had one 1-2-3 inning but only put himself into danger once, in the fifth. And we already know he still hung a zero.
In the field, Jamey Carroll made a nice play in the bottom of the seventh, sliding to his right to snare a Hardy grounder before popping up and making a good throw across the diamond to Joe Mauer. At the plate, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham put up back-to-back eighth inning doubles to put a halt to Jason Hammel's no-hit/shutout bid. But the positives mostly ended there.
Hammel was solid. He pounded the strike zone (62% on the afternoon) and was very efficient, throwing just 77 pitches through his first seven innings. Only in the eighth, a 20-pitch inning, did he really seem like he was losing command of pitches.
Anthony Swarzak (.138 WPA)
Justin Morneau (.082 WPA)
Josh Willingham (.023 WPA)