Alec Asher pitched a decent game for the Baltimore Orioles last night, despite the final score and his stats. Asher’s line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 1 K. Asher kept Chicago at bay for the most part, that is until the sixth inning. Needless to say, he turned in the best starting performance the O’s have had in a week or so.
The Birds even had a lead in the game, due to Manny Machado’s RBI-single in the first inning. However that’s as far as they got. Furthermore the Orioles left seven men on base over the course of the game. And when you only put one run on the board, you’re asking to be beat.
Chicago took the lead in the fourth with a two-RBI double by Garcia. And while Asher surrendered the lead and thus took the loss, he did pitch out of a jam there and minimized the damage. However a walk, a base hit, and a hit batsman in the sixth loaded the bases with nobody out. Davidson followed suit with a grand slam, giving Chicago a 6-1 lead and a 6-1 victory.
Again, my personal opinion is that Asher pitched fairly well. Yes he gave up the fatal blow, however for the most part he kept the Orioles in the game. As I said above, when you can’t score runs you can’t expect to win.
So with the recent struggles, the natives aren’t happy in Birdland. Granted the pitching is different; however for the most part this is the same Orioles team that’s been together since 2012 – the nucleus, that is. Sure some names such as Trumbo are different, and others such as Markakis and Wieters are gone. But the likes of Jones, Machado, Hardy, Davis, and Tillman are all still there. What gives?
There are those in the national media who would have you believe that the Orioles got lucky in 2012. From then until now, we heard that the Birds were defying logic by having winning records and so forth. Is it possible now five years later that those people…were and are right?
I would say no. Furthermore I would ask Orioles fans who now say the Birds should sell and sell big to calm down. In essence, we have to look past the tips of our noses. Please tell me that you know and understand that Jones, Machado, Trumbo, Davis, et al have not suddenly just lost the touch of everything that they had before.
I maintain that this is still a good team, but one going through something. And that happens over 162 games. Toronto went through something similar right at the beginning of the season, and Boston lost some luster in early May as well. Does it really make sense to say that someone “got lucky” for five years but now we’re seeing their true colors? No, it doesn’t.
The O’s will try to break out of their funk tonight in Chicago. Dylan Bundy will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Miguel Gonzalez. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.
The Baltimore Orioles seemingly had the big advantage going into last night’s makeup game in D.C. Washington was coming off of a long west coast swing, which culminated on Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles. They then had to fly across the country to get home to play the Orioles on what was supposed to be an off day (for both teams).
Instead, it was the Orioles who seemed to play like they were coming off of such a trip. And Washington took advantage of almost every mistake they made. Alec Asher had a rough first inning. And in this particular case, that was the game. Asher’s line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R 4 BB, 6 K.
Asher threw 41 pitches in the first inning, and gave up four runs. Harper lined an RBI-single which gave Washington an early lead, which was followed by an RBI-single by Drew. Taylor would later drive in two runs with a double, and the O’s trailed 4-0 before most of the crowd had even settled down.
Asher was hanging pitches in the zone for most of his outing, which doesn’t bode well for a team being able to win. Now in fairness, Oriole bats were held at bay by Washington’s Ross. The Birds however were without Adam Jones and Manny Machado. Jones was simply given the night off following two extra innings games in a row, and Machado of course is suffering from the effects of being spiked on Wednesday night. Combine losing those two with also being without a DH, and you have an offense that’s totally not itself.
Asher was able to settle down after that first inning, giving up only one other run, a sac fly-RBI in the second. He was relieved after the fourth inning by Ubaldo Jimenez, who promptly gave up a solo homer to Drew in the fifth. But that’s the only run Jimenez gave up, and once again he did a big service for his team and his fellow bullpen mates. He pitched three solid innings, allowing the O’s to use only one other reliever. As they head into a weekend series in NY, that makes a big difference.
The O’s did net one run, off of an RBI-single by Trumbo in the seventh. However all in all, it appeared that Showalter wanted to rest his bullpen as well as Jones and Machado. Granted every game is important, however the New York series more so than this one game.
The Baltimore Orioles got a strong outing out of starter Alec Asher last night, inspiring them onto victory against Boston. Asher’s line: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 K. This was obviously a massive improvement over his last outing in Houston, when he seemingly walked everyone who didn’t get a hit.
Oriole bats obviously helped and played a role in the game also, because you can be as shutdown on the mound as possible but if your offense can’t score you can’t win. The Birds took an early lead right off the bat when Seth Smith led the game off with a solo homer. Mark that into the category of great job, don’t ever do it again! You want your lead off guy to get on base. If he homers, great. But you’d rather he get on base and be driven in.
Next up after Smith was Manny Machado, and wouldn’t you know it…he smacked a solo shot as well. This was a shot-and-a-half in a sense however, because the ball hit off of the facade of the club level in left field. Very few Camden Yards home runs make it that far.
Boston would cut that tally in half in the third when Sandoval smacked a solo home run of his own, which incidentally was Boston’s first hit of the game. But they say that solo home runs won’t kill you, and the Orioles made sure that didn’t happen. Kim’s RBI-double in the bottom of that fourth inning extended their lead to 3-1. Boston would get to within 3-2 on an RBI-single by Bradley in the seventh, the the Orioles’ bullpen shut the door after that.
So news of the Orioles’ demise has been a bit overstated of late. A lot of people had tweeted me over the course of the dry spell saying that the real Orioles were showing up, and that this team was destined for last place. They still might be for all I know – I can’t predict the future. However what I can say is that you’re never as good as you think when things are rolling (Houston, for example), and never as bad as you feel when things are going south.
Teams go through phases over the course of the season – both good and bad. The O’s seem to be out of that poor phase for now. And while you hope not to go through a spell like that at any point, over 162 games it’s probably difficult to avoid.
The Baltimore Orioles came to Toronto hoping that it wouldn’t be against them that the Blue Jays got well. To this point, that hasn’t happened. However they did manage to beat the Orioles yesterday, in what ended up being a pitcher’s duel.
The Birds of course acquired Alec Asher from Philadelphia at the tail end of spring training, and he was called up as the de facto fifth starter in the rotation. The O’s were really high on him from the moment they made the deal to get him, and he didn’t dissapoint in his Orioles’ debut. Asher’s line: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K.
Asher pretty much kept a struggling Toronto lineup at bay for all but the tail end of his outing. Toronto has a good lineup, which at some point is going to make someone pay for their struggles thus far. But it wasn’t Alec Asher, and for the most part it wasn’t the Orioles today.
Asher started to tire in the seventh when he hit Bautista with a pitch, and later gave up a base hit to put two runners on. That ended his day, however Bautista would later come around to score on Barney’s RBI-single. That run was charged to Asher, and it gave Toronto a 1-0 lead.
However it wasn’t just Asher who showed his worth to the Orioles today. Castillo led of the ninth with a base hit, and was promptly lifted for pinch runner Craig Gentry. Almost immediately, Gentry stole second base and was later moved to third on a fly out. He would score on Schoop’s sac fly-RBI.
That extended the game, and made Toronto come to bat in the last of the ninth and potentially onward. However Morales led off the inning with a walk off home run, and the O’s fell 2-1 at Rogers Centre. However the final result shouldn’t dim the fact that the Birds may have found a back-end starter in Asher.
It’s unreasonable to assume that Alec Asher will pitch at that level indefinitely. He’ll have starts where he can’t get balls over and so forth. But for the time being, I suspect he’s cemented himself into the Orioles’ rotation. For what it’s worth, this was the Orioles’ fourth consecutive quality start.
And don’t downplay the importance of what Gentry did yesterday either. The Orioles haven’t had much team speed of late, and he provided that which extended the game. He entered the game, and before you could blink he was at third base. That’s a great weapon to have late in games. Especially close ones.