Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter has at times (over the years) used the term someone’s eventually going to pay when describing struggling teams. Mind you, this could mean the Orioles or any other team that’s struggling. Basically he’s saying that the team’s too good for them to eventually not break out.
Last night, it was Texas who “paid” for the Orioles’ struggles of late.The Birds seemed intent on making mincemeat out of Texas, and the final score of 12-1 reflects that. The O’s got a second consecutive quality start, this time out of Dylan Bundy. And ironically, Bundy gave up a solo homer to Texas’ Choo on the second pitch of the game. But that was Texas’ lone high point last night. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K.
While trailing ever so briefly, the O’s got right at it in the last of the first. All that jazz before about the O’s not holding their opponents accountable? They sure did last night – again, because Texas paid the piper for the Orioles’ struggles. Schoop’s two-RBI double gave the Orioles the lead. And they never looked back.
Following Schoop with the Birds leading 2-1, Chris Davis got out of his funk and smacked a two-run homer to give the O’s a 4-1 lead. Later in the inning Mancini got into the act with a two-run shot of his own, running it to 6-1. One had the feel that the competitive portion of the game was over at that point, although the Birds were just getting warmed up.
Come the fourth inning, the Orioles loaded the bases with Davis coming back up. And he got into one again, hitting a grand slam that gave the O’s a 10-1 lead. Machado would add an RBI-single in the sixth, and Smith a solo homer in the eighth.
This is not to say that all of the ills facing the O’s right now have been cured. You still have to take one game at a time, and you still have to continue this moving forward. This game was big mainly for the power that the Orioles flexed, however it’s also noteworthy because it was the second consecutive game that they got solid starting pitching. You’re only as good as your next day’s starter.
Many people however will point to this game as another problem given that it plays into the narrative that the Orioles rely too much on the home run ball. Maybe they do, although a few of those runs were scored off of non-homers. But ultimately you win games however you can, and as I said and as Buck’s said…eventually someone was going to pay.
Unless you count Chris Davis going 0-for-4 as Delmarva’s DH last night in his final rehab start, there’s not much going on for the Baltimore Orioles. I wouldn’t worry too much about Davis not hitting minor league pitching. Rehab starts are all about getting back into the groove of playing, and making sure that the player feels okay physically. Davis will be playing first base for the Orioles tomorrow night when the season resumes.
But with the league in essence shut down, there was an interesting situation last week down in D.C. regarding a weather delay. Fans will remember that the Orioles themselves were the “victims” of a rain-out a Nationals Park in May, on a night when it was barely raining. It had rained all day, and in buckets at that. But when 7 PM came around, it was merely a light drizzle.
Similarly last week, Washington delayed the start of their game against Atlanta due to the potential of a system being in the area. Long story short, it rained for about 15 minutes total, and the game began just after 10 PM. For much of the delay, the field wasn’t even covered.
In the Orioles’ case, the idea that Washington did this as a matter of gamesmanship was insinuated lightly. In essence it was “hinted at.” But Atlanta came right out and said that they think it was handled the way it was as a matter of gamesmanship. Now on one hand, weather isn’t an exact science, and teams can only use the information that they’ve given. That should go without saying. But on the other hand, due to the way the rules are there is the chance that a team could do that.
In the Orioles’ case I don’t think there was any other reason to reschedule the game than a wet field and less-than-ideal conditions. Because the way it was rescheduled had Washington surrendering their off day following a long west coast trip. Not exactly ideal for the home team.
But that aside, the issue in my mind is that in all weather delays, the decision is literally left up to the home team. That is until the umpire says PLAY BALL! Once that happens (in essence once the game starts), delays are decided by the umpiring crew – mainly the crew chief. I would submit that should be the case uniformly and across-the-board.
I believe that cancellations are decided upon by the two teams and the umpiring crew, however the simple act of delaying the start of the game is up to the home team. I suspect that most teams do consult with the visitors and perhaps even the umpires as well in these cases, however the decision soley rests with the home team.
MLB needs to change this so as to avoid the semblance of a team delaying a game and hoping for a cancellation for selfish reasons. Regardless of the motives, Washington really botched this situation last week. They didn’t communicate at all with fans other than saying thanks for your patience, and by the time they finally saw fit to start the game, most fans were literally at home in bed.
Removing the home team from this decision and resting it with MLB would alleviate situations like these. Washington isn’t the only team that’s had this happened. Numerous teams have lengthy rain delays only to start the game well after it’s scheduled time. But perhaps the league making that decision would add just a bit of common sense to the mix.
Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles reported to Nymeo Field (known to those of us of a certain age as Harry Grove Stadium) in Frederick yesterday afternoon to play first base for the Frederick Keys. In doing so, Davis began his injury rehab assignment to work his way back to the Orioles.
In five plate appearances, Davis went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored. Many fans are going to point to the fact that he struck out twice (once swinging), and wonder what the heck is going on to where he can’t even hit single-A pitching. However keep in mind that these rehab starts aren’t so much about statistics as they are just getting back into the groove of playing, and ensuring that there are no medical setbacks.
Davis of course has been on the DL since June 13th with a strained oblique. He’s expected to report to single-A Delmarva for a rehab assignment on Wednesday evening. If all goes well there, odds are he’ll be the starting first baseman for the Orioles on Friday night when the schedule resumes and the Chicago Cubs come to town.
Incidentally, this rehab start for Davis was kind of a big deal to the locals. The Keys played a getaway day matinee yesterday which started at 2 PM. In general, you might have a few hundred people at a game like that in the minors. The ballpark was packed yesterday with 4K+ people. So when a player of Davis’ stature comes for a rehab assignent, it’s often a boom for the farm team.
The Baltimore Orioles may have lost first baseman Chris Davis last night in yet another loss – 10-7 at the hands of lowly Chicago. Make no mistake about the fact that while they’re struggling, the Orioles are a good team. They have too much talent to be playing the way that they are. And they will snap out of it; they just might have to do it without Davis for awhile.
Wade Miley struggled yet again, becoming only the latest Oriole starter to make an early exit. Miley’s line: 2.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 0 K. Chicago was able to take a 2-0 lead on the last of the second on a two-run homer by Smith, and an inning later it was 3-0 after Abreu’s RBI-single. Add in an RBI-double and another RBI-single, and the Birds trailed 6-0 after three.
However the good news for the future is that the O’s put up a fight at the plate. They did score seven runs in this game, which indicates some life in their bats. They just need to compliment that with decent or even passable pitching. Smith’s RBI-double in the fourth cut the lead to 6-1, which was followed by an RBI-single by Jones.
However Chicago quickly put two more runs on the board, and a third in the last of the seventh on a Davidson homer. Just to show how badly the Orioles are struggling right now, one of the aforementioned runs came as a result of Smith flat out whiffing on a line drive hit to him in right field. He was in line to catch the ball, and the lights obstructed his vision and he missed it – runner ended up at third base.
But again, the O’s tried to get back into the game. Kim’s RBI-single in the eighth cut the lead to 10-3. Mancini then smacked a three-run homer later in the inning which brought the Birds to within 10-6. An RBI-single by Schoop in the ninth brought it to 10-7, but the O’s couldn’t complete the comeback any further than that.
Again, this team will snap out of their funk. Right now people are marveling at how a team like New York can be doing what they’re doing and so forth. ALL teams go through periods like this over the course of 162 games. At some point the Orioles might find themselves clicking on all cylinders and New York might struggle. That’s how the season ebbs and flows, and it’s part of the game. Even though they fell, the Birds put seven runs on the board, which indicates that perhaps the offense is coming around.
Before the game even ended the Orioles announced that Chris Davis had a strained oblique. He’s getting an MRI today, however don’t be surprised if he lands on the DL. It’s never a good time to have injuries, however they all seem to be hitting this team at once. But again, that’s part of the game.
The Baltimore Orioles went onto victory last night (or should I say eary this morning) squarely on the bat of Chris Davis. However this game in Detroit entered what I call the twilight zone, which is my term for games which go past twelve innings. And don’t tell me that the theme music from the show isn’t reverberating in your head now that you’ve read this!
Wade Miley put the Orioles in a spot to win last night, but Detroit had already started it’s comeback prior to his departure. Miley’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 3 K. Part of the recent issues with the bullpen are that starters aren’t going deep into games. Miley ends up throwing a lot of pitches (partially due to guys fouling balls off), which makes for exists after five innings. And that affects the bullpen.
Miley allowed a run on a fielder’s choice in the first, but the O’s tied it in the third on a solo homer by J.J. Hardy. Then Oriole bats exploded. Manny Machado‘s RBI-double later in the inning gave the O’s a 2-1 lead, which went up to 3-1 after another RBI-double by Chris Davis. Tack on an RBI-single by Castillo, and the Birds held a 5-1 lead.
That lead actually grew by two more runs after an infield RBI-single by Mancini, and Hardy grounding into a force out which scored a run. So when the smoke cleared after the top of the third, the O’s led 7-1. Comfortable lead, right? Well sometimes you have to tip your cap to the other guy too, because they can also score runs. Martinez’s two-run homer in the bottom of the inning cut the lead to 7-3, which was followed by a solo homer by J.D. Martinez. Again, when the smoke cleared the O’s led 7-4.
And that’s how Miley left things. But the Oriole ‘pen showed it’s wear once again. Mychal Givens loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh, and the Orioles went to Brad Brach. The first hitter he saw was J.D. Martinez, who promptly gave Detroit the lead with a grand slam. And just like that, the Orioles trailed.
One positive about the Oriole bullpen in this game was Darren O’Day, who pitched for the first time in a week. He sent Detroit down 1-2-3 in the eighth, and looked crisp in doing so. The Birds were unable to muster much of a rally after that grand slam. It appeared that it would go down as another gut-wrenching loss in which they had pulled defeat from the jaws of victory. But this game was destined to enter the twilight zone…wild things were about to happen!
The Orioles couldn’t muster a rally – until two outs in the ninth inning. When you’re down by one all it takes is one swing of the bat. And the Orioles got that one swing from Mark Trumbo, who’s solo homer with two down saved the Orioles from a loss for the moment. It tied the game and sent it to extras.
So with the Birds having new life, onward we played. And as I said above, it was Chris Davis who was the big hero. But in true hero fashion, he had to do it twice. He led off the top of the twelfth with a solo home run, which gave the O’s a 9-8 lead. The O’s would tack on two more runs in the inning as Hardy would ground into a force out that scored a run, and Jones would add an RBI-single.
The Davis homer alone felt like the fatal blow, but the O’s were feeling pretty good about themselves after a three-run twelfth. The issue was that Detroit wasn’t about to go quietly. Would you believe that they came back to tie it in the last of the twelfth?! Three RBI-singles will do that to you, and we played on…into the twilight zone.
But luckily we didn’t have to play deep into the twilight zone, but we were certainly there. And what better way to get out of the twilight zone than with another home run by Chris Davis? This one, in the top of the thirteenth and of the two-run variety, was the fatal blow. Thus it propelled the Birds to a 13-11 victory in the motor city.
Whatever rest the bullpen might have gotten with an off day Monday was probably spent last night. Showalter indicated after the game that more roster moves are coming today, and I would bet that the bullpen will figure into that somehow. The Orioles were a heartbeat away from having to send a starter in last night, which is liable to happen when you play games in the twilight zone.
But at the end of the day (or perhaps more poignantly at the beginning of the day since the game ended well after midnight), a win’s a win. And especially when you’ve lost a few games straight, you take wins however you can get them. Despite the recent bullpen struggles, we saw the resiliency of this Orioles team in this game.
The series continues tonight at Comerica Park in Detroit. Ubaldo Jimenez (who was almost spent last night) heads to the mound, and he’ll be opposed by Detroit’s Michael Fulmer. Game time is set for just after 7 PM. And that’s all for now…on the twilight zone.
Many of the Baltimore Orioles’ power hitters have had semi-tough starts to the season, including Chris Davis. However zeroing in on him for a moment, perhaps all he needed was some home cooking – as it felt like the O’s hadn’t been home for years and years when they got there yesterday. There really is no place like home!
Wade Miley made the start, but lasted only two outs into the game in what perhaps was one of the strangest sequences I’ve ever seen befall a starting pitcher. Miley was hit by consecutive comebackers, and was knocked out of the game. Miley’s line: .2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. He was later diagnosed with a left wrist contusion – which in essence is a bruise. Miley and the Orioles should consider themselves lucky; it could have been a lot worse.
So the Orioles summoned Gabriel Ynoa from the bullpen to reliever Miley, and he gave them quite an outing in a winning effort. Ynoa’s line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Ynoa did exactly what the Orioles wanted him to do, and for that he’ll probably be sent back down before tonight’s game. After going so long in relief, he won’t be available for awhile; furthermore he also experienced cramping in his hamstring…because of course he did.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the last of the first when School got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. That’s one way to get ahead I suppose! Two innings later Davis broke out of whatever funk in which he’s been with a solo home run which gave the O’s a 2-0 lead. Perhaps the best part of that home run from the Orioles’ perspective was that it went to left center – as opposed to right center. Davis is a power hitter who actually does a very good job of going the opposite way.
For the most part, this game was won on pitching. Ynoa and his fellow bullpen mates seemingly shut Chicago down. They netted a run on an RBI-groundout in the eighth, but the Orioles came right back in the bottom of the inning and regained their two-run margin on Joey Rickard‘s RBI-double. Later in the inning Hardy reached on an error which allowed Trumbo to score, and Chicago would ground into a double-play in the ninth which netted the final result at 4-2 in favor of the Birds.
After the game it was revealed that Zach Britton wasn’t available last night, as he’s once again experiencing left forearm discomfort. This is obviously a very serious matter for the Orioles, who don’t want to lose Britton for another extended period but who also need to do justice by their player.
It could be a wait-and-see situation, or possibly a return trip to the DL. Britton had an MRI yesterday, and the team will evaluate the results to decide how best to proceed. But it’s something that’s of concern to the O’s right now, and will continue to be until Britton’s 100%.
So if you’re keeping track at home, it’s worth paying attention to Miley given that he was hit with two comebackers. Odds are Ynoa will be sent down today despite his outstanding effort in last night’s game, and Britton could once again be on the shelf in the near future. For the record, if Britton were healthy I suspect the Orioles would consider keeping Ynoa on the roster (and for all I know they still might – surprises happen). But it’s bad enough having one reliever who can’t go, but two is a tough sell.