The Baltimore Orioles were almost playing with house money in game two of yesterday’s doubleheader last night. Almost. The game still counted towards the standings and so forth, but the fact is that most twin bills are split – regardless of the teams and their records.
So on one hand it’s not too surprising that Tampa was able to defeat the O’s and Alex Cobb, however the fact is that as I said it was a game that counted towards the standings. And Cobb was lackluster once again, although the defense behind him did him and the Orioles’ bullpen no favors. Cobb’s line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R (3 earned), 0 BB, 5 K. (As an aside, Cobb may well have pitched deeper than 5.2 innings if not for a lengthy rain delay.)
The teams swapped lead off home runs in the first, with Tampa’s Cron and Trey Mancini of the Orioles doing the honors. However mind you that while Tampa isn’t necessarily a power-hitting team, they’re good at getting guys on base. And they did that again in the second, and Robertson provided them with an RBI-groundout in the second. Wendle’s sac fly-RBI in the third gave them a 3-1 lead.
Am I suggesting that the Orioles should start playing small ball like that? Not in the least. Often times if you play for one run you’re going to get…one run. But if you have a guy or two on base when the homers come, that generally helps your cause.
That’s not to say that Tampa has no power, as Miller smacked a homer in the fourth to give them a 4-1 lead. And then, with two outs in the top of the sixth, the weather came. And I’m not talking just rain. There was heavy rain, which came sideways at times, Wind, thunder, lightning, and hail. Yes, hail. I’m not sure, but I think it might have been the first time a storm involving hail interrupted a game at Camden Yards in it’s history. Needless to say, it wasn’t a storm that they could have weathered anywhere else but in the clubhouse.
When play resumed it appeared that the O’s were going to make a run of it. Trey Mancini got a run home in the last of the sixth with an RBI-single, and Jonathan Schoop produced an RBI-groundout. That got the O’s to within one run, but things escalated quickly.
Tampa would manage to put six more runs on the board before the game ended. And with all of them, they simply picked the Orioles to death. This team stubbornly refuses to give up at-bats, even in the doldrums of the ninth inning when the game was in essence over. It was doubtful that the Orioles had a seven-run ninth inning up their sleeve to win the game, but you never know I suppose.
One interesting question in this game is whether or not Tampa was able to knock Cobb around because they knew him. Those types of things can go either way – sometimes the player knows the team, and sometimes the team knows the player. Either way, Tampa sent Cobb to 0-5.
The Orioles will conclude this weekend series with Tampa this afternoon on Mother’s Day. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Blake Snell. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.