Buck Showalter has often said that eventually somebody’s going to pay, when things would go south for the Baltimore Orioles. This evening, and in reality in this series, somebody finally paid. That somebody was Kansas City. People will point to the first game, in which Kansas City bludgeoned the Birds. But last I checked two-of-three is winning a series.
But at first it appeared that the O’s would drop two-of-three, after Chris Tillman‘s lackluster start. Tillman’s line: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 6 R (5 earned), 3 BB, 0 K. Tillman loaded the bases and gave up a grand slam to Perez in the first inning. And again, following that and following Soler’s two-RBI single in the second, it appeared that it was over for the Orioles.
But the fact is that these Birds battled back. Adam Jones‘ RBI-double in the last of the first cut the lead to 4-1. Manny Machado would later smack a two-run homer, cutting the lead to 4-3. However as I said above, Kansas City would put two more runs up, chasing Tillman.
And the big question surrounding the Orioles now is what to do with Chris Tillman. My personal opinion is that they’ve reached a point where they can’t continue to keep giving him starts. So what next? To the bullpen? Do they DFA him? Does Miguel Castro (who was outstanding in relief and qualified for the win) take his rotation spot? These are all questions that the Orioles will need to answer for themselves. And quickly, at that.
But the O’s weren’t going to be outdone on this night, or in this series. Kansas City might well have taken it to these Birds in game one, but this was the Orioles’ time to shine. Someone was eventually going to pay for what’s been going on. And it ended up being Kansas City.
Adam Jones smacked a two-run homer in the third inning, bringing the Birds to within one. One inning later the O’s had runners at the corners with one out and Chance Sisco coming to the plate. Sisco was sitting on a slider, with the idea being that the pitcher would have wanted him to put it on the ground. Instead, he got a fastball – and he jumped on it in the form of knocking an RBI-double.
That gave the Orioles the lead, but they weren’t done yet. Trey Mancini‘s two-run homer later in that fourth inning, giving the O’s a 9-6 lead. Santander would add an RBI-single in the fifth, and Schoop one of his own in the sixth. When the dust settled, the final score was 11-6.
Offensively the Birds put 14 hits on the board. They also went 6-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Those are two very important stats to keep in mind. Oriole bats came alive, and they picked their teammates up when they got into scoring position. And again defensively, Miguel Castro really picked the Birds and Tillman up.
Again, do Castro and Tillman perhaps switch roles? The Orioles are disappointed in Tillman’s output at this point, and again in my personal view they’ve reached a point where they can no longer allow him to take the ball every fifth day. What happens moving forward is anyone’s guess.
Tomorrow the O’s open up a weekend series at Camden Yards with Tampa, which includes a doubleheader on Saturday. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jake Faria. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.