Orioles' John Means continues to surprise and impress in 4-1 win over Red Sox - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ John Means continues to surprise and impress in 4-1 win over Red Sox

Photo Credit; Joy R. Absalon


BALTIMORE—In the past two games, Orioles starters have delivered their two best performances of the season. On Saturday night, Dylan Bundy allowed three hits in 7 1/3 scoreless innings. Two nights later, John Means followed it with seven quality innings.

Means, who had never seen the sixth before in his previous four starts, got through seven, giving up a run on three hits as the Orioles defeated the Boston Red Sox, 4-1, on Monday night.

Before Bundy’s outing, only Andrew Cashner, who pitched seven innings on April 23, had gone seven. Now, three starters have done it in 35 games.

Means didn’t walk a batter and struck out four as he held Boston’s top five hitters in check. Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers were a combined 0-for-15 against him.

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The biggest surprise of the season is Means, who doubted that he would make the Opening Day roster and has turned into the staff’s irreplaceable left-hander.

“That was an impressive performance,” manager Brandon Hyde said “I love the way John Means competes. I love the way he moves his fastball around, throws in off the plate, spots up, up in the zone, above the zone. I thought tonight was the best … You know, he’s got two breaking balls, and he utilized them more. The more he’s out there and able to give the hitter something else to think about the better he’s going to be.”

Means was 35-41 in the minor leagues. He’s now 4-3 in the majors.

“I just feel comfortable up here,” Means said “I feel like these games really matter. I was never a prospect, so I feel like my back’s against the wall every time I go out there, and I feel like I pitch better that way.”

Hyde thinks Means has the tools to succeed.

“What I’m seeing is a guy that’s aggressive in and out of the strike zone, great tempo, holds runners,” Hyde said. “Got a plus-changeup and is starting to really develop two breaking balls. You’re seeing a four-pitch pitcher right now, a guy that you can’t sell out on one pitch. The changeup’s really good, and that’s something that’s in the back of their head all the time. And his fastball’s good enough to play by guys, which you saw especially early in the game.”

Means had completed five inning three times. In his last two starts, he threw 92 and 91 pitches, but was much more economical in this performance.

In his first four innings, Means got nine of 12 outs on ground balls. After Christian Vazquez doubled to lead off the fifth, he retired his final nine batters.

“I actually didn’t look at it,” Means said of the pitch count. “I didn’t want to look at it. I just came in the dugout, stayed locked in and then after I was done I asked (David) Hess what my pitch count was. I thought I had hit 100, but it was only 96 or something.”

Means got his offense on Jonathan Villar’s grand slam in the second. It came an inning after he apparently led off the first with a double to left. However, after manager Alex Cora appealed, it was ruled that a fan interfered with Martinez.

Rio Ruiz led off the second with a single, Stevie Wilkerson followed with a bunt single to third, and Chris Davis walked. After Pedro Severino and Richie Martin struck out, Villar homered.

It was Villar’s fourth home run of the season,  the Orioles’ first grand slam of the season. Hitting with the bases loaded has been a weakness for the Orioles, who are only 4-for-26 with runners on first, second and third.

“Very happy because that’s my second grand slam in the major leagues,” Villar said. “Not only for me, but for the team. The team is winning like that. It’s unbelievable.”

The Orioles are 13-22, and have won consecutive games at home for just the second time. Their record at home is 5-11. Last year, it took until the 41st game for them to win their 13th.

Paul Fry recorded two outs in the eighth, and Mychal Givens picked up his fourth save when he retired the last four Boston batters.

Move that game along: The game was played in two hours, 39 minutes. In their last three games, the Orioles have played three of the four fastest of the season. Saturday’s two hours, 19 minutes was the swiftest.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 7, 2019 at 7:23 am

    Great game pitched by Means. Enjoyable to watch. Low scoring, quick tempo by both team’s pitching staff … less than 3 hours to complete. So who needs a bunch of home runs anyway? An Oriole win to boot and best of all, I was able to stay awake for the last pitch. Baseball as it was meant to be for at least one night.

  2. 33d St

    May 7, 2019 at 7:56 am

    Pitching, defense, and four-run homers. Classic O’s baseball!

  3. 5brooks5

    May 7, 2019 at 8:07 am

    Enjoying to watch an Oriole pitcher actually pitch, locate, in,out,up,down…. what a concept!

  4. Orial

    May 7, 2019 at 8:16 am

    First of all I want to apologize to Stevie(do we really have to call him that?)Wilkerson. Bashed him saying I never want him on the field again—well so much for that. The thing I like about Means is his consistency. With the exception of Chicago,where he gave up 2 HRs but was still decent,he’s solid in every outing. O’s pitchers lately have a tendency to have a good game followed by a bad game.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 7, 2019 at 9:09 am

      Orial, he’s always been known as Stevie, and was inadvertently called “Steve” last year.

      • Orial

        May 7, 2019 at 11:05 am

        Then again there’s Stevie Ray Vaughn an icon. So I guess I can handle it.

      • BirdsCaps

        May 7, 2019 at 1:57 pm

        I’m sure that’s true, but his named was always announced as Steve in Aberdeen. Thank God no one addresses me with an ie at the end of my name.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 7, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      I think Capsie would be a nice way of addressing you.

      • BirdsCaps

        May 7, 2019 at 5:31 pm

        Whatever you say Richie!

  5. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    May 7, 2019 at 8:25 am

    I saw him win a few weeks ago against the White Sox. He works quickly throws strikes, and mixes up his pitches. He reminds me of Cubs Kyle Hendricks RH, who doesn’t throw hard but knows how to pitch. Great effort last night.

  6. SpinMaster

    May 7, 2019 at 8:48 am

    Rich: I am not sure when you sleep, given your articles today were written well after midnight, I wanted to ask you about the Villar “double” (?) in the first. On the replays, it looked like it would have been a home run given where this so-called Oriole fan tried to catch it. Martinez’s glove wasn’t even in the correct spot to make the catch.
    BTW, was this so-called Oriole fan thrown out given that he interfered with a ball in play? It still amazes me what an adult will do to catch a baseball at a game.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 7, 2019 at 10:08 am

      Spin, please don’t worry about my sleep. I get an adequate amount, and sleep well.

      Even though Martinez was probably not going to catch the ball, the fan interfered with his opportunity to do so. Martinez was in the general area, and the ball was considered catchable. You’re correct. The fan violated the rule, and should have been ejected, and I’m sure he was.

  7. Ekim

    May 7, 2019 at 9:41 am

    Not that it really matters but has anyone noticed the O’s have won but one less game than the Nats? O’s 13: Nats 14. And we were complaining about OUR bullpen… Wow!

    • Orial

      May 7, 2019 at 11:07 am

      Yes and I love it. The Las Vegas Nats sounds real good to me.

    • Raymo

      May 7, 2019 at 7:43 pm

      I second that emotion!

  8. Tony Paparella

    May 7, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Means seems to be turning into a real smart type pitcher.Sort of like a couple of those Atlanta Braves pitchers in the 90’s if you know who I mean.Not overpowering but keeps hitters completely off balance.Certainly way too early, it but would be nice to have an ace on this staff again.Also Givens was not too shabby last nite either.

  9. PA Bird Lover

    May 7, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Means appears to have what it takes. Does anyone know what’s up with Cody Sedlock drafted in 2016. I believe he may be pitching for the Keys. He was supposed to be a can’t miss prospect.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 7, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Cody Sedlock is 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA in five starts with Frederick, PA.

  10. ButchBird59

    May 7, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Ramblings: He’s not going to make me forget Paul Blair but, Stevie played a decent center field. I also loved his bunt in the middle of the big inning. I wish Mullins and Martin would learn that.

    I’m really happy for Means. He has nothing left to prove in the minors.

    The other day somebody wrote or mentioned the Orioles were two games better than they were last year. That doesn’t sound like much but, when you consider last year at this point they still had Machado, Jones, Britton, Schoop, etc. it does make one a bit more hopeful.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 7, 2019 at 11:40 am

      Butch, if you’ll read the article that you’re commenting on, you’ll see that I wrote that they didn’t win their 13th game until their 41st game last year, so they’re six games ahead of 2018.

  11. BirdsCaps

    May 7, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Since I see the birds trading Mancini, maybe Means is the first building block in the next good O’s team.

    • Ekim

      May 7, 2019 at 4:57 pm

      Let’s not rush things, here… Just sayin…

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