Baltimore Orioles nickel and dime’d to death in the rain

The Baltimore Orioles were looking good in this evening’s game, against a team that they should have beaten. Then the fifth inning brought rain, and took away starter Alex Cobb, who to that point had looked promising. Cobb’s line: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 0 K.

Tampa took an early 1-0 lead after putting a couple of runners on base early, but settling for an RBI-groundout by Miller. But the Orioles stormed back almost right away. Adam Jones‘ RBI-double tied the game at one in the first inning. The Birds would then put runners at the corners with the newly acquired Jace Peterson coming to bat. Peterson of course was claimed off of waivers from New York, and figures to see a sizable amount of action in the immediate interim with Beckham now on the DL.

And Peterson came through for the Birds, with a two-RBI double to give them a 3-1 lead. And that held up…until the rain came. These are the things that happen when you’re a struggling team.

A light mist started to fall during the fourth and fifth innings. The grounds crew gathered behind the tarp, at the ready. If there was a delay and eventual cancellation, all the Orioles needed to do was get through that top of the fifth to have the game qualify as an official game.

And you could almost see that strategy forming in their minds. Just get through the inning and we may have a win and an early evening. Instead the exact opposite happened, and in the most unpredictable manner as could have been possible – which is about par for the course this year. Tampa started the inning with back-to-back singles, including a bunt back to Cobb, on a ball that probably would have been better handled in dry conditions…

…that, immediately followed by a two-RBI double by Cron to tie the game at three. Cron would be sacrificed to third, and later score on  a sac fly-RBI by Miller. Wendle would cap the inning off with an RBI-single, and the O’s trailed 5-3. Sisco’s solo homer in the last of that fifth inning would bring the Birds back to within one, but they couldn’t keep Tampa down. Hechavarria would smack a solo shot of his own in the sixth, knotching the margin back to two runs.

Tampa would add two more runs down the stretch to take the opener, 8-4. However that fifth inning really seemed to conspire against the O’s. Cobb wasn’t good by any means, but the rain did in fact affect him. And magically, as soon as the damage was done, the rain subsided.

Some might say that was dumb luck, and some might say it was justice. As I said, you could almost see the Orioles thinking down the line to the ends of perhaps rain wiping out the rest of the game. In trying to achieve that so hard, it’s almost as if Murphy’s Law began to apply.

And the fact is that Tampa nickel and dime’d the Birds to death tonight. The O’s seemingly have no use for individual base runners. They want the big blast and the dramatic play. Tampa on the other hand did value each runner, evidenced by each and every player hustling down the line out of the box. No doubt that got them infield singles on several choppers off the plate.

What the solution is for the Orioles, I really can’t tell you. What I can tell you is that on paper they’re a better team than this. Their career averages indicate that, especially against a young team like Tampa. Many of these players have been around the bend and back again. Hopefully for their sake they realize that sometime soon.

The series concludes tomorrow evening at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Chris Archer. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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