Before being overly critical, Minnesota’s Brian Dozier might want to keep in mind that the Baltimore Orioles are at times perhaps overly cognizant of unwritten codes of baseball. This is a team that knows the codes, respects them, and enforces them if need be. Dozier made some comments in the clubhouse after his team beat the Orioles 7-0 to the effect that the Orioles’ Chance Sisco had broken an unwritten code. Quite the contrary; more on that in a moment.
The Orioles literally trailed for the entire game this afternoon. Kevin Gausman gave up a solo homer on the first pitch of the game. And that for sure set the tone for the afternoon. Gausman’s line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 5 K.
Perhaps part of the reason that Dozier felt the need and felt he had the ability to be so critical of Sisco and the Orioles was because he was the lead off hitter who hit that initial homer. Literally on the first pitch of the ballgame. Keep in mind, Minnesota’s a small ball team, and in general teams as such give the Orioles fits. They stay very much in the moment, and are perfectly happy with one run – because the opponent has to then score two to beat them. Before the first inning ended, Escobar had plated a run on an RBI-double, Buxton one more on an RBI-single, and another run had scored on a wild pitch.
As much as I personally believe in getting runs in bunches (such as via three-run homers), runners on base does put pressure on the battery to produce strikes and outs. That can make guys nervous, which can lead to mistakes – such as a wild pitch with a runner on third. Before the afternoon ended however, Sano, and Escobar would add solo homers, and Dozier an additional one.
Many Orioles fans don’t know whether to be more critical of the pitching or the hitting. Last night the O’s were being no-hit until the eighth, and this afternoon they only had one hit until the ninth. The offense has started the season in a funk, which is concerning. But two of the first three games also showed starters struggling, which is a concern for the O’s. However, fans should take solace in the fact that we’re only three games in.
Going back to Dozier, Minnesota employed a shift against Chance Sisco during his at-bat in the last of the ninth. Sisco took the opportunity to bunt against the shift – which is incidentally something that Minnesota had done themselves earlier in the game. This during a one-hitter. After the game, Dozier made his impression of that decision well-known (all quotes courtesy of Tyler Conway, Bleacher Report):
Obviously, we’re not a fan of it. He’s a young kid. I could’ve said something at second base but they have tremendous veteran leadership over there.
Starter Jose Berrios (who incidentally pitched a gem of a ballgame) also felt the need to chime in:
I don’t care if he’s bunting. I just know it’s not good for baseball in that situation. That’s it.
Again, the Orioles are a team that abides by and enforces unwritten codes. Bunting in the later innings of a no-hitter (or perfect game) is a big no-no. And yes, guys do get plunked for that. However there’s literally no unwritten rule for bunting during a one-hitter. I mean…there’s NO RULE, written or otherwise on that. It’s never existed.
So let’s call this what it is, and that’s incredibly poor form by Dozier, Berrios, and the Minnesota Twins. If Minnesota was that worried about an unwritten rule (which again doesn’t exist) in that instance, they wouldn’t have employed a shift against Sisco. If you’re expecting the opponent to throw in the towel in the latter innings of a blowout, maybe don’t try to use a shift to get a hitter out.
Incidentally, do you know who did break an unwritten code? Brian Dozier, that’s who. I have no issue with teams enforcing unwritten rules, provided of course that the unwritten rule is actually a real unwritten rule. But you plunk the guy next time you see him. Nobody even has to know, although odds are the guy who gets plunked and a few guys in the opposing dugout will get the message. But you don’t go crying to the media after the game about it like Dozier did.
Granted, writers such as myself eat this stuff up, no matter what side on which they stack up. But this type of thing should be kept under wraps for the most part. Sure guys might hint at it and so forth, but in general you don’t come out and bluntly say things the way that Dozier did. Again, if anyone violated an unwritten code, it was him.
The Orioles now head out on the road for the first time this year – to Houston, where they’ll see the Astros’ World Series celebration. Chris Tillman will make his maiden start of the season, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Charlie Morton. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.