Baltimore Orioles almost able to come all the way back

The Baltimore Orioles have seen Kevin Gausman be good before. Unfortunately last night wasn’t one of those games. After a nearly 50-minute rain delay before the game started, the Orioles came out flat. Gausman’s line: 3.0 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

Chicago set the tone in the game early, gettin a couple of runners on base in the first inning, all of whom came home on Contreras’ three-run homer. One pitch later it was 4-0 after a solo shot by Schwarber. Zobrist followed suit an inning later with a two-run shot, and Heyward’s two-run homer in the third ran the score to 8-0. That appeared to be the death blow for Gausman.

But it wasn’t the death blow per se for the Orioles. With bats as potent as they have, they’re never really out of a game. And the good news was that after Gausman departed the pitching became much more stable.

The O’s got on the board in the last of the third on a Castillo solo home run. And they chipped away from there. There’s a part of me that says piecemealing runs together when you start eight in the hole isn’t very efficient. But if you do it enough, it does make a difference.

Chris Davis, who came off the DL yesterday, smacked an RBI-double in the fourth which cut the Chicago lead to 8-2. One inning later it was Mark Trumbo‘s RBI-single that brought the Birds to within 8-3, and an RBI-single by Mancini which cut it in half at 8-4. But the Orioles weren’t done – in the game or in the inning. Joey Rickard‘s two-RBI single cut the lead to 8-6. And suddenly we had a ballgame.

Mark Trumbo struck again in the eighth with a two-run home run which tied the game up at eight. It seemed that an Oriole comeback was destined to happen, however Chicago decided to wake up just enough and just in the nick of time. With Brach in to pitch the ninth, Russell smacked a solo homer to put his team ahead 9-8.

That was a valiant comeback attempt on the part of the Orioles, however the fact is that it begins and ends with starting pitching. Kevin Gausman struggled last night, and not to find the plate. If anything he was getting too much of the plate. And in fact it’s a tough line to toe; you don’t want to nibble, but you don’t want to get too much of the plate to where the ball’s in a sweet spot for hitters.

There was also a situation in the third inning which at the time didn’t mean much, but that really haunted the Orioles. Manny Machado smacked a ball down the line which deflected off the base of the left field fence and jilted up into the air. A fan appeared to then reach over the wall with his glove and grab the ball out of the air. Replays were inconclusive, but it appeared that the ball would have come down in play.

And if it had, Adam Jones would have undoubtedly scored – leaving Machado at third base. However after a length discussion the umpires left it as a ground rule double. At the time you almost chuckle to yourself about that costing the Orioles a run, as they were getting blown out. However all things being equal (and yes, that’s always a hard argument to make), the Birds ended up losing by one run.

Buck Showalter felt that the runner should have been given home plate, and he addressed that after the game (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

We felt pretty strongly that it would not have gone in the stands. That’s the discussion. We’ve never seen a ball hit down there and not stay in the ballpark. Looking at the replays, there was nothing definitive enough angle-wise to think that they would overturn it, especially that early in the game. There’s a lot of plays up here where the replays just can’t give you enough definitive for them to be able to rule it on the field. If they had called that the other way, I don’t think Joe (Maddon) would have had any reports either to change it. So, it’s one those you have to wear.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards, with a familiar face on the mound for the opponent. Wade Miley gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Jake Arrieta, Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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