Some Baltimore Orioles fans complained when the Birds acquired Tim Beckham. Admittedly I wondered what the strategy was, although the fact is that he came cheaply. But he’s done nothing but get on base and hit historic home runs since being with the Orioles. He went 4-for-5 again last night against Oakland, in a game that got out of control quickly.
Dylan Bundy pitched the Orioles to a quality start, but he also had a massive lead well before he even took the field. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 10 K. Bundy was the benefactor of a seven-run first inning. Yes you read that correctly – the O’s put up seven runs in the first inning last night.
And it started with Beckham getting on base and setting the table in a sense. The O’s then used RBI-doubles by Machado and Jones to take a 2-0 lead. Mancini and Davis would add RBI-singles to run the score to 4-0, and Castillo would play a run on a ground out. The Birds sent 11 men to the plate in that first inning, capped off by Tim Beckham’s RBI-double in his second at-bat of the inning (and the game).
But the O’s were only getting warmed up. Bundy would surrender a two-run homer in the last of the first and a solo shot in the second, so for awhile it looked like multiple innings like that might be necessary. Jones added a two-RBI single in the fourth, but Oakland would also tack on two more runs an inning later. As if 9-5 wasn’t enough, the end of the game still loomed.
The Orioles put three runs across in the top of the ninth – you know, just in case Oakland had any ideas about coming back. They got RBI-singles from Davis and Beckham, and an RBI-double from Machado. And as I stated above, the final score was thus 12-5.
It can’t be stressed enough however the effect that Tim Beckham is having on the Orioles. He wasn’t just 4-for-5 last night – he’s having that type of game everyday for the most part. This also means that when Hardy returns at some point this month Buck Showalter‘s going to have a decision to make. He’s said that shortstop was Hardy’s job – but…is it really at this point?
One way or the other, Beckham’s been a shot in the arm for a team that direly needed it. Many of Dan Duquette’s moves have been scrutinized time and time again ad hoc by fans. Whatever you may think about his other moves, this seems to be one he’s gotten right. Beckham’s a guy that the Orioles will need to focus on keeping long term, as he could be the shortstop and lead off man of the future.
The Orioles will attempt to take the series with Oakland in this afternoon’s series finale. Jeremy Hellickson will be on the mound for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Kendall Graveman. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.