Darren O’Day had a tough outing for the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, prompting the twitterverse to blow up about whether or not he was reliable enough any longer. If his performance last night at Fenway Park is any indication, he is – just as I said on Sunday. Look past the statistics if you don’t believe me.
The Birds got another quality start out of Dylan Bundy last night. He wasn’t as crisp as he was last week against Toronto, but Fenway Park and the BoSox lineup will do that to you. Bundy’s line: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K. (Two of those runs scored after Bundy had departed.) At the end of the day, he put the O’s in a position to win.
Boston got sac fly-RBI in the second and fifth innings to take a 2-0 lead. The O’s cut that in half in the seventh with Schoop driving in a run with a fielder’s choice-RBI. Incidentally, Oriole bats were quiet all night long, similar to Sunday against New York. Whether pitching or fielding lets them down is almost irrelevant if they only produce one run.
O’Day was brought into the game in the last of the seventh with a runner at first base and one down in the inning. If you’re O’Day, you’re looking for a ground ball in the infield to induce a double-play and get out of the inning. O’Day did just that. The would-be double-play was tailor made, with a grounder right to Hardy…
…while normally reliable, Hardy fumbled the ball in the infield and suddenly Boston had runners at first and second. Vazquez later sent a lazy pop fly towards very shallow right field. Schoop had the best angle on it from second base…and he dropped it, loading the bases.
Pedroia would later smack a two-RBI single. Benintendi would add an RBI-single, and three runs had crossed the plate while O’Day had been in the game. Vazquez would add a two-RBI triple in the eighth, and Pedroia an infield RBI-single later in the inning to run the score to 8-1.
Someone just reading the box score might assume that O’Day struggled again. Granted, he did give up a two-RBI single. But at a certain point there isn’t much you can do if your defense is failing you. Now the fact is that most people are going to know that what we saw last night was an anomaly from the Orioles’ defense – just as what we saw from O’Day on Sunday was an anomaly. But ultimately it happened.
O’Day got the Orioles out of the inning…that is before the defense messed all over itself. And after the game Showalter said as much (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
That was the highlight for me of the night. Darren was good. That’s Darren. A lot of ground balls, a lot of command. You could tell he felt (good). He’d like to have one pitch back to Benintendi, but other than that, that was real encouraging seeing him today. I really wanted to get him back out there tonight.
These types of games are going to happen here and there, so fans shouldn’t fret too much over it. It’s also worth noting that several of the hits that drove in runs and got guys on base were of the infield variety. Infield hits and incredibly soft-hit balls have seemingly nagged the Orioles since the 2014 ALCS, when Kansas City teased and taunted their way to the World Series by beating the Orioles on broken bat hits and soft-hit balls. But I digress, as I said these games will happen. You accept them and move on, especially when you know that the likes of Hardy and Schoop are going to win you more games than they’re going to lose you.