Baltimore Orioles: Are the Birds tipping pitches?

The Baltimore Orioles lost their fifth of six games yesterday in which they had been leading at one point or another. And perhaps the sad part is that Dylan Bundy didn’t pitch horribly. He didn’t have good stuff per se, but save for one pitch at the end of his outing I felt he pitched well enough to put the Birds in a position to win. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 3 K.

The Orioles took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning on Chris Davis‘ two-run homer. And that could be good news for the Birds, because Davis’ bat is starting to heat up. One inning later they led 3-0 on Smith’s RBI-single.

However as has been happening frequently o late, Detroit got it all back in one fatal swoop. Martinez smacked a three-run homer in the third to tie the game at three. And that was only a harbinger of what was to come, although the Birds did fight back. Adam Jones gave the Orioles the lead back with a solo homer in the fifth, only to have V. Martinez smack a two-run shot in the bottom of the inning. Add in an Avila double, and the O’s trailed by two. Once again however, they made a run of it – with Smith’s solo homer in the seventh, but 6-5 was as close as they would get.

I mentioned that Detroit tied it above in one fatal swoop, as has been happening a lot of late. Combine that with the fact that in five of the last six games the Birds have lost leads, and perhaps it leads you to an interesting theory. Is it possible that the O’s are tipping pitches?

Obviously it wouldn’t be something that’s being done consciously, nor would it be something mechanical. Because obviously it would be an act that’s occurring over a wide array of pitchers and in various situations. The two Bundy pitches that were hit out yesterday weren’t bad pitches. They weren’t hung, and their locations were exactly where the catcher had set up. The hitters just seemed to know where they were coming.

I suppose the better question then is whether or not teams are stealing signs. Either way, perhaps the O’s need to look at how they’re calling games, because of late it’s with relative ease that teams are overtaking them. If a guy knows exactly what’s coming in terms of pitch location and/or speed, he has a huge advantage over you.

The Orioles head home after a tough road trip tonight to open a three-game set with Toronto. Chris Tillman gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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