The Baltimore Orioles were almost no-hit this evening – almost. Jonathan Schoop‘s single in the last of the eighth inning gave the Birds their first hit on the night. More on that aspect in a moment. Andrew Cashner made his Orioles’ debut, and while there should be no doubt he’ll win with the Orioles overall, he was tagged this evening. Cashner’s line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R (4 earned), 2 BB, 5 K.
This game in a sense turned logic on it’s head. They say that solo home runs won’t hurt you. That’s sound baseball logic – yet I suppose that if you give up three, that can make a difference. Sano smacked a first inning solo shot, Castro added one in the third, and Kepler in the fourth. Sano would also add an RBI on a ground out in the third, and he’d net a run on a double-play ball in the fifth.
Cashner would be chased after five, and the Orioles’ bullpen was fairly solid Minnesota would only score on one more occasion, with Mauer smacking an RBI-single in the seventh. The Birds would make a run of it late off of a two-run homer by Tim Beckham, however it was too little too late. The Orioles put up their first loss of the season, dropping this one 6-2 to Minnesota.
As I’ve said many times, Minnesota’s a small ball team. Teams like that rely on scoring runs by a drip-drip-drip type of methodology. They’re perfectly happy with one run here, and one run there. Obviously they hit the ball out of the ballpark three times – all solo shots. While a solo home run generally isn’t going to hurt you, eventually they add up.
Minnesota also had an answer for everything the Orioles did defensively – again, throwing logic on it’s side. If the numbers said that a guy wasn’t a pull hitter, the Birds would play the guy straight away in the outfield. Sure enough, he’d smack the ball down the line and into the corner. It’s frustrating to have happen, but it’s part of the game.
As I said, the O’s didn’t get their first hit until the last of the eighth. As we know in baseball, sometimes you just have to tip your cap. Minnesota’s pitching was great tonight – and it was great on Thursday. But this is the second game in which Oriole bats struggled. Is this something to worry about?
The short answer is that it isn’t – not yet. Certainly many fans are going to point out last September, and how the O’s went from being one game out of the final playoff spot to winning only four games the entire month. But are we really to believe that those are the real Orioles, and that what the likes of Jones, Davis, Machado, etc. have done prior to then actually makes no difference?
However the fact is that through the first game of 2018, Oriole bats have been tamed. They’ve run into some buzz saw pitching, and had some bad luck at the plate, but they’ve had their struggles. It’s something to watch, however again I would say that the guys on this team are too talented to not produce eventually. Perhaps that day is tomorrow.