One of the now many injuries suffered by the Baltimore Orioles are various points thus far in 2017 has been that of Welington Castillo. When he has been in the lineup however, he’s made an impact. And that was never more true than last night when his grand slam seemingly lifted the Orioles to snapping a six-game losing streak.
Dylan Bundy‘s numbers indicate that he wasn’t very effective last night. However those numbers are a bit deceiving in my view. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R (4 earned), 3 BB, 4 K. Make no mistake about the fact that Bundy (who earned the first Oriole victory for a starter since June 2nd) put the Birds in a position to win the game – which they did, in a game that was delayed approximately an hour and a half by rain.
At first it did look to be more of the same, however. Anderson’s two-RBI single in the first inning gave Chicago a 2-0 lead. However the Birds immediately cut into that lead in the second with an RBI-single by Jonathan Schoop, cutting it to 2-1. So needless to say, it appeared that the Birds would compete in this game.
Now having said that, things took a turn for the worst in the botton of that second inning. Davidson smacked a solo homer off of Bundy, and Cabrera ended up at third base and a run scored on a bizarre play. The relay throw came into Schoop at second, and quite frankly he had no prayer of throwing the runner out at third base. Yet he uncorked a throw anyways, and…promptly threw the ball literally into the stands. The run scored, as did Cabrera eventually on a sac fly to the outfield.
The run that scored on the throwing error obviously was unearned. However I would submit that the run scored by Cabrera later in the inning should go as unearned as well. He would have never been on third base if not for that throwing error. That’s why I say that Bundy pitched better than his numbers indicate. Furthermore, that’s the type of play that happens when you’re a team like the Orioles who’s struggling at everything.
Some might have thought that was kind of the back-breaker for the Birds in this game. But there was still a lot of game left to play. They cut it to 5-2 in the fourth when Castillo reached on a fielder’s choice which scored a run. Kim’s two-RBI-single later in the inning brought the O’s to within 5-4.
But this night belonged to Welington Castillo. Actually…strike that. It belonged to the Orioles overall as a team. But the win was spearheaded by Castillo, who’s grand slam in the fifth inning put the Birds ahead 8-5. That’s the big blow for which the Orioles had been looking for some time, as well as in this series and this game. As I’ve been saying, this team is too good to not eventually come around.
Jones and Mancini would add RBI-singles in the eighth inning to give the Orioles some insurance. Chicago would get one back in the last of the ninth on a Hanson solo home run, however the O’s finished things out and got the win – snapping that six-game losing streak. The win in my view relieves a lot of pressure on the Orioles, and for their sake hopefully they can get back to the business of baseball as opposed to worrying about snapping a losing streak.
For his money, Castillo said after the game that he didn’t feel there was pressure on the team. But they all knew what was going on and knew that they had to step it up in some manner (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
I won’t say pressure. We have a great ballclub and we just need to keep doing what we’re doing today. Keep swinging the bats and hopefully the pitching stops the other offense. That is going to come. We are not too worried about it. It’s a long season and we have a great team. At some point we are going to do what we know to do.
If the O’s can win today, while it won’t salvage the road trip it would give them some momentum coming out of it. Obviously being a getaway day afternoon game it’s going to be a quick turnaround. Especially with last night’s game itself being later than expected after the rain delay.
That above-mentioned series finale is this afternoon on the south side of Chicago. Chris Tilman gets the nod for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s David Holmberg. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.