Jonathan Schoop won the game for the Baltimore Orioles – in the twilight zone. I’ve said many times that when baseball games go past twelve innings they go into “the twilight zone.” Strange things are liable to happen, as eventually fatigue takes over. And whomever has that happen first, loses.
Kevin Gausman pitched a gem for the O’s, and it’s a shame that he couldn’t get the win. Gausman’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K. It’s rare that a pitcher is going to toss a shutout and not get the win. It’s also worth mentioning that Buck Showalter matched up perfectly in this game regarding the bullpen. Admittedly it’s easier to do that after September 1st when rosters expand, however a lesser manager wouldn’t have had the savoir faire to do it the way Showalter did.
This game had a bit of everything – except runs, that is. But we did see a lot of fine defensive plays on both sides which in theory kept the game and the 0-0 draw going. But perhaps none more so than Trey Mancini‘s catch in the top of the 13th to end the inning. On a liner to left field, Mancini was off balance; yet he reached up and back and caught the ball. And that’s what can happen folks…in the twilight zone!
And that set up the last of the 13th. Machado led the inning off with an infield single. That brought Schoop to the plate, and his RBI-double walked the Orioles off winners by the score of 1-0. These are the types of games that teams win when they’re in the playoff chase. And the Orioles are very much in that chase.
One interesting point from this game was Adam Jones earning his second career ejection after arguing balls and strikes in the dugout in the first inning. Jones is generally not the type to do that, however he felt that both he and his team were falling victim to an inconsistent strike zone. And quite honestly he probably had a point, as it seemed that any borderline pitch was going Toronto’s way for awhile – regardless of who was pitching and who was in the field.
That right there should have indicated that this game was destined for the twilight zone. However Jones’ replacement, Craig Gentry, had to leave the game also. He injured a finger attempting to bunt in the third inning. Later we found out that the finger was fractured. Gentry now appeared headed to the DL.
The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Wade Miley gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Marcus Stroman. Game time is set for just after 7 PM. And that’s it for now…on the twilight zone.
What would you have said a month ago if I had told you that the Baltimore Orioles were going to rattle off seven straight wins? Heck, what would you have said a week ago?! While none of this means that the Orioles will finish the regular season with a birth in the playoffs, they are in fact coming on strong at just the right time. To draw a comparison, basketball for instance is a game of runs. Whomever has their run last generally wins.
You know that we’re starting to get down to crunch time when starters are being pulled at the first sign of trouble Ubaldo Jimenez didn’t last long in this game, however the fact is that we’re at a point of the season where results mean more at the end of the day than does how a starter looked. Jimenez’s line: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 3 K.
The O’s took the lead in the last of the second on a Mancini solo homer. Welington Castillo added an RBI-double, and the O’s held a 2-0 lead. However one inning later Jimenez got in trouble as Seattle loaded the bases. Jimenez appeared to induce Cruz into a ground ball in the infield which would have ended the inning, however as I’ve said many times funny things happen when guys get on base…
…the ball hit second base itself. And I’m not sure you could do that if you tried. Nevertheless that tied the game at two. Seattle would plate four more runs in the inning, and when the smoked cleared Jimenez was on the bench and the Birds trailed 6-2.
But when you’re in a pennant race you don’t let things like that phase you. Castillo smacked a two-run homer in the fourth to bring the Birds back to within 6-4. Gentry added a solo shot of his own, and the O’s were within one. And an inning later in the fifth, we had a tie game once again as Jonathan Schoop smacked a solo homer of his own.
The O’s took the lead back in the sixth on Machado’s sac fly-RBI, however a solo homer in the eighth off the bat of Haniger tied things up once again at seven. There have been times over the course of the year where the O’s struggled to put teams away, however while the Orioles earned a series sweep in this instance Seattle just didn’t want to go away – until the very end.
And it was an RBI-single by Schoop in the last of the eighth that put Seattle away for good. The 8-7 win gave the Birds a series sweep, and their seventh straight victory. Mind you that the winning streak at some point will have to end. But it’s made the O’s a very dangerous team in terms of the wild card race. While they’re still 1.5 games back, if they keep winning you have to assume that they’ll be in.
The Orioles now open a four-game set with Toronto at home. Jeremy Hellickson gets the start for the O’s in game one, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Marco Estrada. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.
One Jonathan Schoop homer isn’t going to cut it for the Baltimore Orioles. Especially when your starter doesn’t even last five innings. Wade Miley was lifted early on in this game, even though it was far from out of control by any means. Miley’s line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K.
Miley wasn’t missing by much. And in fact he seemed to indicate after the game that he perhaps felt he was getting squeezed by the home plate umpire (quote courtesy of Greg Johns & Josh Horton, MLB.com):
I was barely missing with some fastballs and cutters in. I’m talking, like, inches in. Could have been strikes and kind of fell behind a little bit.
In fairness, Miley didn’t come out and say that he was getting squeezed. However that’s the implication there. If you feel that they could have been strikes, you’re indirectly saying that you were being squeezed.
Nevertheless, the Orioles had an early lead in this game. Schoop’s homer came in the first inning. For the second consecutive night the Orioles took a 1-0 leaed in the first off of a solo homer. In this particular case we just didn’t know that it would be the only run the Birds would muster.
Seattle tied the game at one in the last of the fourth on a Cruz RBI-single. One inning later they took the lead on an RBI-single by Segura, and later in that fifth inning Cano grounded into a force out which allowed a run to score as well. And that’s your ballgame.
The bright spot of course was Jonathan Schoop, who’s having a career year. It’s really amazing in terms of what this guy’s been able to do if you think about it. Because he’s doing it both on offense and defense.
Schoop seemingly has timing down pat, and in reality he has a clock in his head that keeps him on task. And that was how Buck Showalter described Schoop’s successes when asked after the gae (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports)
He’s good, he’s a good player. He’s just graduating. Two plays tonight give you a good idea. He had two great clock plays. The ball he backed up and took on the short hop to possibly turn the double play. The other one, we were a little slow with the exchange on the 6-4-3 and he didn’t throw the ball to first and went to third base. Those are the little things you see. You see him take a walk in an RBI situation because they’re not throwing good pitches to hit. Those are things that have allowed him to grow.
The Orioles will try to take the series in this afternoon’s finale in Seattle (also the end of the west coast swing). Ubaldo Jimenez will get the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Marco Gonzales. Game time is set for just after 3:30 PM.
The Baltimore Orioles won a big game yesterday in Arlington, TX, and now head back home to open up a home stand. Wade Miley turned in a typical Wade Miley-type game, however this time it wasn’t several good innings and one bad one (which cost the Orioles the game). Miley’s line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K.
Miley may have somewhat set the tone, however it was Oriole bats that won this game for the Birds. Trey Mancini‘s RBI-single in the fourth got them on the board, which was followed immediately by an RBI-single by Chris Davis, and another by Welington Castillo. Tejada would later reach on a fielder’s choice which scored another run, and before you knew it the O’s led 4-0 in the fourth. Texas however would tack on two in the bottom of the inning, just reminding the Orioles that they were still there.
And the O’s hadn’t forgotten, incidentally.They knew that they had to keep scoring. And they did just that in the fifth. Jonathan Schoop smacked a two-run homer, followed later in the inning by a three-run shot by Castillo. That broke the game wide open as the O’s opened up a 9-2 lead. One inning later Schoop would deliver once again with an RBI-single to run the lead to 10-2.
But Texas wasn’t done quite yet, and they still felt they had a run in them. Odor smacked a solo shot in the last of the sixth, and Mazara followed with a two-run bomb in the eighth. Still no biggie, right? The O’s still held a six-run lead in later innings. Odor came back up in that eighth inning, and added a two-run shot of his own.
The Orioles’ bullpen labored through those final two innings, and in the end they had to go to Britton to record the final two outs with two on in the last of the ninth. You’d rather not have to do that, however that’s what the O’s had to do to win the game. And win the game they did, 10-6.
So while the finale wasn’t as easy as it was cracked up to be at first, the O’s did take two-of-three in Texas. And they did so against a team that’s struggling perhaps as much as the Orioles at times. However that’s momentum that they need to take home with them if they’re going to make a run at a playoff spot. At the end of the day, you’d like to be able to point back at this game or this series as a catalyst.
The O’s now return home to open up a three-game set with Kansas City. Ubaldo Jimenez gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Danny Duffy. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.
If there’s one thing that Baltimore Orioles fans should take away from the MLB all-star game, it’s that Jonathan Schoop played a major role in the outcome. The lone Orioles’ representative in the game didn’t start, but was a factor once he got in the game. Both offensively and defensively.
Schoop entered the game as a substitute at second base in the alst of the fourth, and immediately made an impact. A runner tried to tag up and go to second base on a long fly ball out, and Boston’s Betts relayed the ballinto Schoop and second to nail the runner. One might question why the runner tried to advance, however runs were tough to coe by last night.
Schoop hit third in the top of the fifth, and with two outs and two strikes on him he pulled a tight grounder over the bag at third for a double. A few moments later Schoop scored the first run of the game on an RBI-single by Minnesota’s Sano. The National League would tie the game up on a solo homer by St. Louis’ Molina in the sixth, and the game went to extra innings. Seattle’s Cano smacked a solo homer of his own in the top of the tenth, which propelled the American League to victory.
For the first time in years, the all-star game truly was an exhibition. It no longer decides home field advantage in the World Series. And I’ll be honest; at first I thought it was a good idea because it gave a little bit of emphasis to the game. However as time went on players and coaches started taking it a bit more seriously than they should have given the stakes and what winning and losing could mean.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that baseball shouldn’t be taken seriously, and that games should be treated as little league affairs just designed for them to have fun per se. It’s a serious business and each game matters. But the all-star game was always supposed to be just an exhibition for the fans, and a fun atmosphere for the players. So perhaps it’s a good thing that it’s back to truly being that way.
The other thing that stood out to me about this year’s contest was that it was a pitcher’s duel. In the past we’ve seen all-star games with final scores such as 10-8 or 14-11. However this was a game that seemed to truly showcase the pitching talent in the league. But of course at the end of the day, it was power that decided the game.
This was the first all-star game for Schoop, who looked very comfortable out there both in the field and at the plate. And while he wasn’t voted in by the fans, his selection was well-deserved. I’m also a proponent of having every team represented on the rosters. I disagree with how the NBA does their all-star selections; it ends up that only four or five teams in each conference get representation.
I also believe that every player on the roster should get into the game somehow. Preferably in an at-bat or to pitch an inning. But even if the guy only pitches to one batter, or comes in as a pinch-runner, I think every player should see the field. Every fan in my opinion has the right to sit down and watch the all-star game knowing that a member of his home team is on the roster and participates in the game. That’s part of how the game grows itself.
MLB will remain in pause-mode for the next two days before the season resumes on Friday. For the Orioles, that rest is well-needed given the grueling nature of the first half. For what it’s worth, this was the American League’s fifth consecutive all-star game win.
A lot of Baltimore Orioles fans had to wonder what was going on when they noticed Jonathan Schoop playing shortstop yesterday afternoon. Admittedly, I raised an eyebrow at the move also. However when you’ve lost five straight games and things are turning south, you might as well shake up the lineup here and there. That’s what the Orioles did – and if the result is any indication, it worked.
I wouldn’t expect to see Schoop at short often, however it should put the Orioles at ease knowing that he can play there. What also should put the Orioles at ease was Wade Miley‘s outing in yesterday’s game. Miley’s line: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Obviously the O’s would prefer Miley to go deeper into games, however this start is about par for the course for him. The difference is that he only gave up one run.
The O’s trailed in this game before they took a lead, on the heels of Sano’s solo homer in the last of the third. But one inning later it was the shortstop, Schoop, who put the O’s in the lead for good. His two-run home run gave the Birds a 2-1 lead. And the best news for Oriole bats? They added on.
Manny Machado continued his hot streak with an RBI-double in the sixth. He would later score on an error that allowed Trumbo to reach. For once it seemed the opponent was making a few mistakes in the game, and the O’s were holding them accountable.
And ironically, it was the end of the sixth inning which may have decided the game. Miley gave way to O’Day, who promptly hit a batter to load the bases with two outs. You have to believe that Minnesota had to just know that this was the part of the story where they stand up and seize control of the game from the Orioles, never to look back. So when O’Day, who wasn’t at his best yesterday, powered a fastball past Escobar to end the inning, you could almost see the shock on the faces of the Minnesota players.
Trumbo would smack a solo home run in the eighth to offer the Orioles even more of a cushion, and the Birds cruised to a 5-1 victory. That of course snapped a five-game losing streak, and for the Orioles’ sake perhaps restored some semblance of normalcy to the clubhouse. Inicidentally, the fact that Trumbo has started to heat up just a bit in the last week bodes well for the Orioles as they head into the second half. They just have to hope that it continues.
The Birds will try to earn a split with Minnesota in this afternoon’s series finale at Target Field. Ubaldo Jimenez gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.
The Baltimore Orioles’ series in Tampa got off to an inauspicious beginning with a ten-run loss on Friday night. But it was the Birds who got the last laugh, with a come-from-behind victory yesterday in the finale to end up taking two-of-three. As the title indicates, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Chris Tillman posted yet another early exit yesterday afternoon, Tillman’s line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R (4 earned), 2 BB, 5 K. One thing I found interesting is that Tillman seemed to be doing okay against this Tampa lineup, and then in the second time through the order they started to square some pitches up against him. And that’s when Showalter made the change. Almost at the first sign of trouble.
The O’s struck first in the top of the second on Janish’s two-RBI single. Tampa would get a run back in the bottom of that second inning on a Featherton RBI-single, but the O’s still held the lead at 2-1. They extended that to 3-1 in the fourth on a Caleb Joseph solo homer.
Featherton would come back up in the last of the fourth, and drive in a run with a sac fly-RBI. However it was the last of the fifth that did Tillman in. Longoria smacked a three-run homer on a hanging changeup, and suddenly Tampa had a 5-3 lead.
A week ago that would have been a fatal blast against the O’s. Oriole bats would have gotten so nervous that they would have consistently swung through pitches trying to make things happen. However this time around they came across as a bit more relaxed.
And sure enough, one inning later in the sixth, Trey Manicini smacked a solo homer to bring the O’s to within 5-4. As the game wound down however, the Orioles needed one run to tie it. And they got that one run in the form of another solo homer, this one off the bat of Jonathan Schoop in the eighth. That was the key play of the game, and it put the O’s in a spot to win.
Following a lead off single, a sac bunt, and an intentional walk, Joey Rickart made Tampa pay with a ground rule RBI-double to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead. Tampa would then proceed to intentionally walk Machado, which loaded the bases for Jonathan Schoop once again. And Schoop, as he’s done numerous times in this series already, was hit by a pitch – which drove in another run to give the O’s a 7-5 lead. (Incidentally that HBP withstood a Tampa instant replay challenge.)
The O’s would add an additional run on a Jones sac fly-RBI, and ended up with an 8-5 victory. I found Tampa’s two IBB’s in the ninth inning to be very interesting. They were uncharacteristic of a home team in a close game like that. Road teams will often issiue intentional walks in the ninth inning because presumably the runner at first base wouldn’t mean anything. But to see a home team do it (and twice at that) was strange…
…but keep in mind that this is Tampa. They don’t do anything that’s “by the book” per se. Ironically most of their against the grain moves tend to work – and for a conventional team like the Orioles, that’s maddening. But for once it didn’t work, and the Birds took advantage.
Here’s something you don’t hear often anymore: the Orioles will have an off day today. Yes, you read that correctly. For the first time since June 5th, the Birds are off. No makeup game, no nothing. They’ll begin a series in Toronto tomorrow night.