It took them nine full innings, but the O’s lineup finally figured out how to hit with runners on base, topping the Nationals 5-4 on a walk-off fielder’s choice that clinched a sweep over their neighbors to the south, capping a tremendous weekend of baseball in Baltimore.
Before the late-game madness ensued, John Means made his second start since returning from a lengthy IL stint last week. He still looked like a lesser pitcher than the one that performed like a Cy Young candidate earlier in the season, but it did represent a step forward from his previous outing.
The O’s ace pitched into the seventh inning and ultimately left the game with his team in a competitive place. However, he was far from dominant. Means got whiffs on just 14% of opponent swings. That is down significantly from his 27.8% whiff rate on the year, and he was only able to strike out two batters all day. He also saw his spin rate down slightly on each of his offerings. It is probably still a bit early to draw any reasonable conclusions there, but it wouldn’t seem to be an arm strength issue as his velocity was up slightly on everything but his change-up.
Means did appear to be battling his…