Baltimore Orioles: Attention to detail wins and loses games

The Baltimore Orioles are a power-oriented club who doesn’t put too much emphasis on small things in a sense. By that I mean a base hit here and a walk there don’t mean too much. However they say that if you get too close to the forest you can’t smell the trees. And smelling the trees is akin to paying attention to detail, which is what a small-ball team like Tampa is good at.

Chris Tillman only lasted five innings, however he turned in a fairly successful outing. Needless to say, he put the O’s in a spot to win. Tillman’s line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Tampa’s Ramos smacked a two-run homer in the second – and that’s it. One inning later the Birds would get a run back on an RBI-double by Joey Rickard, but Tillman kept Tampa and their offense based on bloops and seeing eye singles off the board after that.

Rickard had a great game, making two outstanding plays in the field in one inning. His solo homer in the last of the sixth also tied the game at two. One inning later Mark Trumbo‘s RBI-single would give the Orioles a 3-2 lead. You felt that was kind of a dagger for Tampa, and if not for those small details, it probably would have been.

With the O’s still leading 3-2, Brach Brach came in to get the save in the ninth. He struck out one, and induced another hitter to fly out. That brought Peterson to the plate, and he drew a walk. The Orioles’ attitude (and quite frankly mine as well) was that it was only one base runner. There were two outs, so get the next guy out and the game’s over.

That one base runner is a small detail that the Orioles probably overlooked. In Tampa’s case, they thrive off of small things, because small things can turn into big things. Brach was called for a balk, and suddenly that runner was in scoring position. One wild pitch later, he was at third base.

If you’re the Orioles, you’re still not totally in a panic. All you need is one out, right? Eventually they got that out – but only after Hechavarria’s RBI-single that tied the game. Hechavarria was down to his final strike, and he was able to ground an RBI-single to left. Tampa’s Souza connected with a three-run homer in the tenth, and although Trumbo would smack a solo homer in the bottom of the inning, that one walk had done in the Orioles and they fell 6-4.

And again folks, I’m kind of on board with the idea of overlooking that one walk in that instance. Obviously you don’t overlook it totally, however the point is that the Orioles’ attitude is what are the odds? Tampa’s attitude is hey we have a base runner – a shot to score! In general power will defeat small ball, however in a close game like that all it takes is one runner on base.

The series continues this afternoon at Oriole Park. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.

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