Kevin Gausman gave the Baltimore Orioles exactly what they needed last night in Houston. The Birds got a quality start out of Gausman, who pitched a great game. Gausman’s line: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K.
The issue was that they didn’t score any runs. If you can’t put runs on the board, you literally have no shot at winning. NO SHOT. No matter how good your starting pitching and bullpen is.
They say that solo home runs won’t kill you. But they will when you can’t score in a game. Houston got a solo homer from Marisnick in the last of the third, and an additional solo shot from Beltran in the last of the sixth. And that was the ballgame.
The most incriminating part of the game for the Birds was the top of the eighth. The O’s got a double from Kim, and singles from Schoop and Hardy to load the bases before an out was even recorded. It seemed that the Orioles had Houston right where they wanted them…but they (the O’s) let them off the hook. Smith struck out for the first out, and Jones and Machado both flied out.
On the Jones fly out, my personal opinion was that the runner at third (Kim) should or could have tagged up and tried to score. The scouting reports on Reddick (the Houston left fielder) indicated that he has a great arm without a doubt. However I thought he would have had to make a near perfect throw to nail Kim at the plate. Sometimes you have to take risks like that, especially when you’re struggling.
And I suspect that right there you see a big difference between a team like Houston and the Orioles. Part of the mentality of not sending the runner there was the hope that Machado might smack his third double of the game and tie it up with one swing. Had that been a small ball team like Houston hitting in that exact situation, they probably would have tagged the runner up. Because in small ball you take what the defense gives you.
Believe me folks, my personal strategy about baseball is that power rules the roost. But I do think the O’s made a mistake in not at least trying to send Kim on that play. I thought the ball was deep enough to where it was a decent bet that he would have scored. But hindsight is always 20/20.