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.
Beef Welington might have overtaken crabs as the favorite food of most Baltimore Orioles fans – just for a few moments last night. Catcher Welington Castillo was starting to heat up when he went on the DL a few weeks ago. But he’s been white hot this week since coming back. Just ask Toronto.
Kevin Gausman needed a good start last night, and for the most part he got it. Gausman’s line: 6.0 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K. I always say that pitchers will get themselves in trouble – it’s the nature of the position. What matters is if as a pitcher you can get yourself out of trouble. Gausman did that right off the bat when he loaded the bases with nobody out in the first. He induced a ground ball double-play which scored a run, and then struck out the next hitter.
That set the tone for the game, because you can look at it as in essence a win for Gausman. Luckily for the Orioles this is an AL East game – not one against the Kansas City Royals, who would have celebrated that one run to the nines because they play small ball. Giving up one after that situation is all but meaningless.
Sure enough, the Birds battled back immediately. Mark Trumbo‘s RBI-single in the last of the first tied the game. Two innings later, it was a solo home run by Manny Machado which gave the O’s a 2-1 lead. But not to be outdone, two innings after that it was Trumbo again who smacked a home run, this one of the two-run variety.
But as I said, this is the AL East; Toronto may be decimated by injuries, but they’re a power hitting club also. Smoak’s solo homer in the sixth brought them to within 4-2. However it was Baltimore’s longtime nemesis who dealt the O’s what would have been a crushing blow to a more faint-hearted team. Bautista’s three-run homer in the seventh put Toronto back in the lead at 6-4.
But notice what I said above: that would have been a crushing blow to a more faint-hearted team. Neither baseball, nor this world belongs to the faint of heart. It belongs to the brave. And once again it was Castillo who reached deep inside of himself and gave the Orioles the lead back. His three-run homer in the last of the seventh was his third big home run against Toronto in a span of about 24 hours.
Regarding those three homers; the first one tied a game, the second one gave the O’s a walk off win, and the third one gave them the lead back. Castillo as I said has been hot all week since returning from the DL. But he’s absolutely wrecked Toronto thus far in two games. Too bad that odds are he’s going to sit today with a day game after a night game!
The other good news from the Orioles’ standpoint is that the back end of the bullpen was as solid as ever last night. O’Day sent Toronto down 1-2-3 in the eighth, and Brach did the same in the ninth. A little bit of rest will in fact help guys to re-charge their batteries!
The O’s will go for the sweep this afternoon in the series finale at Camden Yards. Wade Miley will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Marco Estrada. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.
It sees that all Welington Castillo has done since returning to the Baltimore Orioles from the DL is hit home runs. There was just a bit of trepidation in letting Wieters walk on the part of some Orioles fans this past off season, however Castillo’s filled that void very well. He certainly paid off last night against Toronto.
The Birds were able to get some stability out of their starting pitching as well, as Chris Tillman had a good outing. Tillman’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K. That’s a quality start, if you’re keeping track at home. The Orioles’ pen was solid as well for the first time in awhile, however it’s important to note that while the O’s dropped the final two games in Detroit, many of the relievers weren’t used. It’s amazing what some rest will do for guys.
The Birds took a 1-0 lead in the second on a Hardy RBI-single. However Toronto had a three-run inning on Tillman in the fourth, and suddenly things didn’t look so hot. With Toronto leading 3-1, it appeared that Orioles’ pitching had given up a lead once again.
However Tillman righted himself, and shut Toronto down after that. And two innings later he found himself off the hook when Castillo smacked a two-run homer which evened the game at three. It was a high fly ball to right that just kept carrying, and ended up leaving the ballpark. That was merely a harbinger of what was to come.
As the later innings wore on, it became evident that the O’s and Toronto would need to work a bit extra on this night to decide the game. The Birds retired Toronto in the top of the tenth, and then…the skies opened up. And I mean a torrential rain descended on the Inner Harbor. While obviously nobody wanted to stop the game at that point, there was little choice but for the umpiring crew to call for a rain delay.
The game resumed just before midnight after an hour’s delay. The Birds recorded two quick outs in the last of the tenth, before Mark Trumbo managed a bloop single to get on base. It was interesting to note that to that point every time Trumbo had been on base in the game he had scored. Obviously if he came around to score in this situation he would end the game.
And luckily for Trumbo, the hero of the day was coming up to bat. Welington Castillo did everyone a favor by ending the game with his walk off two-run homer, as it saved both teams from what could have been shaping up to be a marathon game. But obviously it was the Orioles who went home happy as victors, with a 5-3 win on the bat of Castillo over the AL East rivals.
Sometimes you have to do a little extra to win games, and this was one of those nights. Not only did the O’s have to go to extra innings, but they had to wait out an extra innings rain delay. But in the end, a W’s a W.
The Baltimore Orioles’ 6-2 loss in Bradenton against Pittsburgh yesterday afternoon should be of no concern to anyone. However the fact that injuries seemed to come in a wave yesterday should be on people’s radar. Welington Castillo was to make his maiden start of the spring yesterday, but woke up with neck spasms – he ended up being a scratch.
How ironic a twist of fate is it that less than a week after Wieters signs elsewhere, his apparent replacement comes down with an injury? The Orioles don’t appear overly worried about this per se, but it’s something to watch. If Castillo appears in the Orioles’ lineup for this afternoon’s home opener in Sarasota, perhaps that indicates that the Birds dodged a bullet.
But they didn’t dodge a bullet with outfielder Michael Bourn. He’s going to be on the shelf for about a month, after breaking his finger playing football in the outfield during a workout yesterday. First off let’s be clear; guys on every team chuck the football around before and after workouts, and even during the regular season. It’s lighthearted of course, however it’s also a good warm-up or even cool-down activity.
The Orioles believe that Bourn could in theory be ready for Opening Day if he had to be, but there’s no reason to do anything but take this slowly. According to reports he simply caught the ball wrong. It could happen to any of us, but it happened to Bourn.
The Orioles also signed infielder Paul Janish to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training yesterday. That doesn’t appear to be related to any current injuries – or does it? The O’s of course already have J.J. Hardy who’s battling his normal routine of back spasms; does the Janish signing indicate there’s a chance Hardy might need to spend some time on the DL? Or perhaps at extended spring training?
To top it off, Christian Walker was claimed off of waivers by the Atlanta Braves yesterday. And that’s probably a better situation for him in the sense that he’s not going to be in a log jam of players. However that’s just another very talented player out of the Orioles’ system, with nothing in return.
As I said above, the Birds will play their spring home opener this afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota against Pittsburgh. Wade Miley will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Jameson Taillon. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.