The bad news for the Baltimore Orioles is that they fell in Detroit last night behind Ubaldo Jimenez, who only went five innings. Jimenez’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 5 K. However if there’s a sliver lining, it’s that the Birds only used one reliever (Blier) who pitched in Tuesday’s marathon game. And he only pitched a third of an inning.
Obviously coming into last night the bullpen was a concern, which is why the Birds called up two new relievers. However it was also a concern going into today, because the series finale in Detroit is a day game – quick turnaround. “Sleep fast,” as Showalter always says.
The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the second when Hardy grounded into a force out with the bases loaded which scored a run. However Detroit immediately tied the game back up when Collins smacked a solo homer. He was previous 0-for-30 in his last 30 at-bats. Detroit would take a 2-1 later in the inning on Kinsler’s RBI-single.
The O’s made a run of things in the fourth however on an RBI-single by Welington Castillo which tied the game. Mancini would give the Birds the lead back with a sac fly-RBI later in the inning, and they took a 4-2 lead in the fifth on Trumbo’s RBI-double. The Orioles’ offense seemed to be clicking, and in fact Jimenez seemed to get some momentum going in the fourth (following full counts on three of the first four hitters in the game).
But Collins had Jimenez’s number last night. As I said, he was previously 0-for-his last-30 coming into the game; and he used Jimenez as his slump-buster. He came up with two on in the last of the fifth, and promptly hit his second home run of the game, this one of the three-run variety. That was the fatal blow, and the Birds fell 5-4.
Jimenez admitted after the game that he hung both pitches to Collins which resulted in home runs (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
The frustration is I left two hanging pitches. It doesn’t matter who hit them. I made two bad pitches and he had a good night. I mean, it’s one of those things where it doesn’t matter what kind of numbers you have. That’s baseball. If you’re going to have a good night, that’s the way it is.
But keep in mind that the game itself is based on failure. In that case it was Jimenez who screwed up – and the hitter took advantage of that failure. If the hitter fails to see the ball properly, if his timing is off, or if he flat out whiffs, it’s the pitcher taking advantage of that failure. The line between success and paydirt in Major League Baseball can be very fine.
Manny Machado took what technically was a swinging third strike to end the game, on a pitch that was appealed to the first base umpire. Replays seemed to clearly show that he didn’t offer, as the bat never got close to the strike zone. The frustrating thing was that the O’s had the tying run at third, and the go-ahead run on base. Machado can expect to get an equipment fine for throwing his helmet in digust after the call, however the frustration was justified in that moment.
The series concludes today at Comerica Park with a getaway day matinee. Dylan Bundy will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Jordan Zimmerman. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.