David Hess got to face the same team tonight for the Baltimore Orioles that he faced in his big league debut. However this was a Tampa Rays team that changed a bit due to a flurry of trades consummated just prior to first pitch. But either way the result was the same, as Hess gassed the Tampa Rays. Hess’ line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K.
For once, we saw the Orioles taking outs away from an opponent, and even getting one back in a sense. With two outs in the first inning Jonathan Schoop struck out but reached on a pass ball. Danny Valencia proceeded to smack an RBI-single, giving the O’s a 1-0 lead.
But in the last of the first Hess picked a runner off second base. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s one out taken away on the base paths. And keep in mind, runners at second base aren’t picked off easily. The Orioles also gunned runners out trying to steal in the second inning and the fourth. So again if you’re keeping track at home, there are three outs taken away by the Orioles on the base paths.
The Birds also got an insurance run in the sixth when Schoop blasted a solo homer deep into the left field grandstand. And that’s your ballgame – in terms of scoring. However the story of the night was Hess. This is a guy who came through the Orioles’ organization and worked hard to get to the big league level. And that work is now really paying off, both for Hess and for the organization.
And we’re starting to see the Orioles take advantage of the opportunities with which they’re presented in games. Yesterday they faced a starter in Giolito who was off-kilter from the beginning. The Orioles jumped on that, and chased him after recording only four outs. Tonight they not only took advantage of opportunities they were given in the game (such as Schoop getting on base in the first inning), but they took opportunities away from Tampa.
In a game that ended 2-0 if you can record three outs on the bases as the Orioles did that’s a huge deal. In effect, they took an entire inning away from Tampa. Small plays in games like those do matter.