Baltimore Orioles: Bats only used on the road?
The Baltimore Orioles got a great effort out of starter Andrew Cashner last night, but it wasn’t enough. Of late, that’s seemed to be the case when it comes to their starting pitching. As the season got rolling we thought it would be the hitting that carried the team. While there have certainly be games where the starters have struggled, the starting pitching has been more consistent than the hitting thus far. Cashner’s line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K.
However the strange thing is that Oriole bats were very active this past weekend in the Bronx. The Orioles were being no-hit last night into the eighth inning. Is it the cold? It might be easy to point to that, but it was colder in NYC this past weekend than it is in Baltimore right now. And manager Buck Showalter isn’t about to fall back on that excuse (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
That’s an excuse that our guys won’t use. You look up on the scoreboard and somebody’s scoring a bunch of runs in cold weather. It’s the conditions we play in and in the past we’ve got some guys with a track record that that hasn’t affected. I don’t think that’s going to come into it. I know the people who came out for the game tonight really don’t want to hear it.
The O’s thus far are just one of those very rare teams that doesn’t play very well at home, but okay on the road. And while you play as many road games as you do home games, that’s kind of a problem. You want to protect your home field so to speak. Buck Showalter also pointed out that quite a few Orioles squared balls up well last night and were robbed. So it isn’t as if guys aren’t hitting the ball well, teams are just playing good defense against the O’s.
While the O’s were being no-hit, Toronto couldn’t muster much either. The teams played to a scoreless draw through seven innings. Toronto would put a run across in the eighth on a throwing error to take a 1-0 lead. However once they got their fist hit, the O’s came right back. Sisco’s RBI-single tied the game at one. However in the end, it was a mislocated O’Day pitch that did the O’s in. Granderson smacked a solo homer against him in the ninth, and Toronto went home winners at 2-1.
The Birds had a flurry of chances in those final two innings, but could only muster one run out of a bases loaded situation. And yes, Toronto set their defense almost perfectly. That should tell the Orioles that their hitters are becoming too predictable. Sometimes spectacular defensive plays aren’t made fully by sheer skill and a bit of luck. Sometimes it’s also due in part to the fact that the defense was set up right where the batter usually hits the ball. And that’s part of what’s happening with the O’s.
The O’s will try to salvage one game in this series and homestand this evening at Camden Yards. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Marco Estrada. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.