BALTIMORE – John Means has been one of the biggest surprises of the season so far for the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles.
He wasn’t even considered a high-end prospect at the end of 2018 but spent the winter and spring working on his wind-up and developing a nasty change-up that made him a much better pitcher. Now, Means might be the best starter the Orioles have had this season.
Means went six innings on a cold and soggy day May 12 as the Orioles defeated the Los Angeles Angels 5-1 and averted a sweep of the weekend series. He gave up one run in six innings, even though the left-hander didn’t have his usual command.
Still, Means got through it and improved to 5-3. But his change-up has turned into a real weapon as hitters can’t distinguish it from his fastball at times – they look the same coming out of his hand – and it’s become an out pitch at times.
Means stumbled a bit on Sunday, getting into trouble in the first two innings but not giving up a run, but still made it through the sixth.
“He threw a lot of pitches in the first couple of innings,” Orioles Manager Brandon Hyde told the media. “Did a great job of minimizing. Got stronger, I felt, as the game went on. I thought his command picked up as the game went on and gave us six great innings.”
Chris Davis slowly is coming on also. He homered twice in the series, including once on Sunday. Hyde put in the clean-up spot, and Davis responded in a big way.
D.C. United beat Sporting K.C.
A late goal from Paul Arriola gave D.C. United a victory over Sporting Kansas City on May 12 at Audi Field.
Arriola ripped a curling shot into the net that goalie Tim Melia got a hand on but couldn’t control in the 78th minute. That was his third goal this season. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid made four saves and earned his sixth shutout.
The win puts D.C. United even with the Philadelphia Union (23 points apiece) at the top of the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia does have the better goal differential still, but they’re locked up in points with plenty of time left.
Up next for D.C. United is a trip to Toronto FC for a May 15 game at 8 p.m.
Washington Spirit edges Sky Blue FC
Cheyna Matthews scored once in each half, and Jordan DiBlasi added another as the visiting Washington Spirit pulled out a 3-2 victory over Sky Blue FC (NJ) on May 11.
Matthews scored in the 22nd minute, beating the goalkeeper on a rebound of her own shot. Sky Blue tied it about 10 minutes later before the Spirit took over in the second half.
DiBlasi fired a bullet from just inside the box and into the top-left corner that gave Washington a 2-1 lead. That goal came in the 55th minute and gave the Spirit the lead for good.
Matthews then added to lead 13 minutes later, taking a ball from Cali Farquharson and firing a left-footed shot into the goal for a 3-1 lead.
“Cali came in and was an immediate game-changer for us,” Matthews said about Farquharson, who had just been subbed in two minutes before.
Imani Dorsey scored for Sky Blue in the 80th minute and that cut the lead to 3-2, but Washington was able to hold on for the win.
The Spirit now is 7-0-2 in its last nine matches versus the New Jersey team.
Washington has a home game on May 18 at the Maryland SoccerPlex against the Portland Thorns FC. That game is set for a 7 p.m. start.