Baltimore Orioles: The clutch gene just isn’t there
The Baltimore Orioles had their chances last night against Boston. But they couldn’t convert a key bases-loaded situation (with one out) in the seventh into anything. The O’s were unable to get a quality start in this case out of David Hess, who struggled a bit against a talented Boston lineup. Hess’ line: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 2 K.
A few years ago this team was as clutch as they come. But the makeup of the roster is different now. But if you’re going to beat talented teams such as Boston, you have to take advantage of those situations. Instead, the Orioles worked right into Boston’s hands and allowed them to get right out of that situation.
The O’s did have an early lead on a Joey Rickard homer in the first. However Boston immediately came back and took a 2-1 lead on a Devers two-run homer. One inning later Benintendi added a solo shot, and the Birds trailed 3-1.
However the Orioles did try to piecemeal a rally together. Danny Valencia smacked an RBI-single in the third which cut the lead to 3-2. However the fourth inning did Hess and the Orioles in. With the bases loaded, Benintendi drew a walk which extended the lead to 4-2. To top it off, Miguel Castro was later called for a balk which ran it to 5-2.
And I’ll be honest; I didn’t think there was much of a balk in the move that Castro made. On top of that, it also appeared that Boston hitters got a few breaks on borderline pitches that could have been strikes. Point being, that would have been a perfect opportunity for a manager like Buck Showalter to “voice his displeasure” with some of that. If that means getting ejected, so be it. That didn’t happen. In fact, Castro didn’t even say much about the balk, although his body language said he didn’t agree with it (as did Showalter’s).
I thought that was curious to say the least. Again, I didn’t see much of a balk on that play. In fact, Castro leads the league with three balks. Was that a case of an umpire reading a scouting report? It just seemed very strange, but the Orioles’ reaction seemed stranger.
Vasquez would add an RBI-single for Boston in the fifth, which preceded the Orioles’ bases-loaded situation in the seventh. You absolutely have to take advantage of those situations against any team. Especially a good team when you’re struggling. But Boston pitching was allowed to induce a Mancini strikeout and a Schoop pop out, and on we played.
Mark Trumbo‘s two-RBI double in the last of the ninth closed the gap to within 6-4, but that’s as close as the Orioles were going to get. And again, they had opportunities. But that’s what good teams do – they not only win when they aren’t playing their best, but they rise up and take it from you.
To make matters worse, Andrew Cashner (who was to have started this afternoon’s series finale), was sent to the 10-day DL with a strained muscle in his lower back. He’ll have an MRI today. The Orioles have called up Yefry Ramirez from the minors to make the start in this afternoon’s game in place of Cashner.
The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. The aforementioned Yefry Ramirez will get the start and make his big league debut for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Chris Sale. Game time is set for just after 3 PM.