The Baltimore Orioles got their second quality starts in as many games against Washington this evening – this time from rookie David Hess. However the result was the same as it was with Bundy last night: an Orioles’ loss. Yet again. And this one stings just a bit more, because Hess was REALLY good. Hess’ line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K.
Hess pitched-to-contact all night. And save for one pitch, he did it masterfully. He surrendered a solo homer to Harper in the third inning. That’s the only bad pitch he made. However Oriole bats have put this team in the position whereby their pitchers can’t give up even one bad pitch. Because it cost them the game.
Washington would nab their second run off of an RBI-single by Soto in the seventh. And THAT folks, is your ballgame. Or was it?
The Orioles put two runners on with nobody out in the last of the ninth. In fact, Adam Jones reached on a miscommunication by the Washington infield and outfield as a ball dropped in. If there’s ever a moment to make an opponent pay for a mistake, the ninth inning is a good time to do it. However in the end, it was predictably the O’s who ended up paying.
Craig Gentry was the lead runner at second base, and the Birds had Machado coming to the plate with nobody out. A home run would have won the game. Yet inexplicably, Gentry took off for third base. And on top of that, it was a tentative attempt to steal as it was. Gentry was thrown out in the subsequent rundown, which in essence ran the Orioles out of the inning.
First off let’s not blame the loss on Craig Gentry. That was an incredibly bone headed move, and the fact is that you really can’t explain it. All you can say is that he either did it on his own, or he misinterpreted a sign. In fact, you hope that it was something with the sign, because that at least is a rational explanation. If he just randomly decided to take off on his own with Machado representing the winning run at the plate, one has to question his baseball savoir faire.
The Orioles however lost this game because they couldn’t solve Washington’s Scherzer; NOT because of Craig Gentry’s horrible decision. That one thing unfortunately stood out, however it didn’t lose the game for the O’s. It may have aided in them not coming back to win it, however.
Ironically, as much as I talk about not trusting youth in games, it’s plays like that which I envision. I’d rather not have to deal with boneheaded plays like that, and in my antiquated mindset it’s young players who are going to make those types of mistakes. Gentry’s been a big leaguer since 2009. So that type of play is pretty tough to swallow.