The Baltimore Orioles came to Toronto hoping that it wouldn’t be against them that the Blue Jays got well. To this point, that hasn’t happened. However they did manage to beat the Orioles yesterday, in what ended up being a pitcher’s duel.
The Birds of course acquired Alec Asher from Philadelphia at the tail end of spring training, and he was called up as the de facto fifth starter in the rotation. The O’s were really high on him from the moment they made the deal to get him, and he didn’t dissapoint in his Orioles’ debut. Asher’s line: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K.
Asher pretty much kept a struggling Toronto lineup at bay for all but the tail end of his outing. Toronto has a good lineup, which at some point is going to make someone pay for their struggles thus far. But it wasn’t Alec Asher, and for the most part it wasn’t the Orioles today.
Asher started to tire in the seventh when he hit Bautista with a pitch, and later gave up a base hit to put two runners on. That ended his day, however Bautista would later come around to score on Barney’s RBI-single. That run was charged to Asher, and it gave Toronto a 1-0 lead.
However it wasn’t just Asher who showed his worth to the Orioles today. Castillo led of the ninth with a base hit, and was promptly lifted for pinch runner Craig Gentry. Almost immediately, Gentry stole second base and was later moved to third on a fly out. He would score on Schoop’s sac fly-RBI.
That extended the game, and made Toronto come to bat in the last of the ninth and potentially onward. However Morales led off the inning with a walk off home run, and the O’s fell 2-1 at Rogers Centre. However the final result shouldn’t dim the fact that the Birds may have found a back-end starter in Asher.
It’s unreasonable to assume that Alec Asher will pitch at that level indefinitely. He’ll have starts where he can’t get balls over and so forth. But for the time being, I suspect he’s cemented himself into the Orioles’ rotation. For what it’s worth, this was the Orioles’ fourth consecutive quality start.
And don’t downplay the importance of what Gentry did yesterday either. The Orioles haven’t had much team speed of late, and he provided that which extended the game. He entered the game, and before you could blink he was at third base. That’s a great weapon to have late in games. Especially close ones.