Sunday, May 22, 2011
Rene Gonzales, 1991 Topps #377
Sure, I'm being facetious. By the end of the season I would certainly expect Vladi to have more home runs as an Oriole than Steve Barber, Mike Cuellar, Larry Haney, and Marv Throneberry. But as much fun as it's been watching the former Expos slugger slash line drive singles all over the place, the homers have been missing in action. I watched with increasing frustration as Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann shut down the O's for six innings this afternoon, yielding only a walk and a Mark Reynolds double. The young pitcher had set down 13 in a row before Nick Markakis led off the seventh with a single. That allowed Guerrero to step to the plate representing the go-ahead run in a 1-0 game. A home run would be nice, I thought, but I quickly lowered my expectations as Vlad took a couple of wild hacks to fall behind 0-2. I would have been even less optimistic if I had realized that the designated hitter hadn't left the yard yet in the month of May. But a moment later, he roped a 76-mph curveball from Zimmermann four rows deep in the left field box seats to put the Birds ahead 2-1. That would be the final, as Koji Uehara and Kevin Gregg each tossed a scoreless inning of relief to seal the win and give Baltimore the three-game series over the Nats.
Thanks for the power surge, Vlad. Feel free to make it a habit.