Brad Brach has been solid as the Baltimore Orioles’ temporary closer to this point. And in fact, it may not necessarily be a reflection on him that he blew his first save last night, because you don’t allow a team to come from seven runs down and blame one person. New York at some point decided that they weren’t going to lose last night, no matter how big Oriole bats busted out.
And the bats did bust out, which is a great sign. Kevin Gausman got the start for the Birds, and while his line looks a bit rough he was fairly effective. Gausman’s line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K. Gausman left the team in a spot to win the game, which is all you can ask of a starter.
The O’s took a 2-0 lead in the third on a Manny Machado two-RBI double, and one inning later Welington Castillo hit his first homer as an Oriole, a two-run shot that ran the lead to 4-0. Machado would add a solo shot an inning later, and the O’s appeared off to the races.
The Birds ran the score to 9-1 in the sixth (following Judge’s solo shot for NY) when Mark Trumbo busted out of his funk with a grand slam. While NY would get a run back in the bottom of that inning on an RBI-groundout, I’m the first one to say that the competitive portion of the game is over at that point. Am I suggesting that you take your foot off the gas? Very slightly, but yes.
So if you’re blaming the Orioles for blowing a big lead, you can throw me into the fray as well. In general, once you get up to a lead by seven or eight runs, you can kind of coast. It’s natural in a way. But to NY’s credit, they made the Orioles pay for that idea.
Following the aforementioned RBI-groundout in the sixth, Judge smacked a two-run homer which cut the lead to 9-4. At that point perhaps the Orioles should have realized that the lead might not be safe, and maybe they did. Schoop would run the lead back to eight at 11-4 an inning later with a two-RBI single.
But again, New York at some point decided that they weren’t going to be denied on this night. Ellsbury smacked a grand slam in the last of the seventh, and grounded into a force out with the bases loaded in the last of the ninth. Castro’s two-run homer later in the inning off of Brach would tie the game at 11. The O’s put the first two runners on in the tenth inning, and Holliday’s three-run homer ended the game.
This really drives home the point that it’s tough to win a big league game. And sometimes holding a big league is one of the toughest things of all. On the flip side however, the bats definitely broke out last night, and that’s a good thing. You wish it wasn’t for naught, but that’s a trend that the Orioles need in order to continue.
And one thing that the Orioles need to do is win today. It’s almost a must-win in a sense, because that’s the type of loss that can send a team into a tailspin. But if they can win today they’re back on track. Furthermore if they can take the series by winning the next two, this turns into a footnote.
And luckily for the O’s, the series turns around quickly with a day game this afternoon. Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s Michael Pineda. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.