The Baltimore Orioles lost perhaps more than just another game this evening; they may have lost reliever Darren O’Day. The sidearm thrower had to leave the game in the top of the eighth after appearing to injure himself after coming off the mound to field a bunt. It was later revealed to be a hamstring injury.
Kevin Gausman gave the Birds another quality start, and another one in which they couldn’t get the job done at that. Gausman’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Danny Valencia smacked a solo homer in the second inning, which gave the Orioles the lead. However two innings later, Oriole-killer Seager smacked a solo shot of his own which tied the game at one.
The O’s did get the lead back later, but not under the greatest of circumstances. They loaded the bases in the sixth with nobody out, and Manny Machado at the plate. The Birds had a similar circumstance last week in Washington – and similarly this week to last, he grounded into a double-play. Of course that did net the Orioles a run, but in my view that’s a win for the defense.
The Orioles aren’t Seattle. They aren’t this small ball team that readily accepts one run here and there. They look for the big inning. Seattle would be a team that would readily accept that one run on the ground ball double-play. From the Orioles’ standpoint, it’s a win for the defense.
The other issue was that Machado didn’t run out of the box. It wasn’t that he lollygagged out of the box, he flat out didn’t run. I’m nor sure if he was confused or what he was thinking, but unless there’s a legitimate reason for this it’s a fairly inexcusable offense. And it’s not just the obvious point from the outset – not running and thus not playing hard…
…it goes beyond that. The Orioles are shopping Machado. Scouts from numerous teams are at the Orioles’ games on a daily basis looking at him. A move like that won’t make it easier for the Orioles to get what they’re looking for in terms of a return on Machado. This isn’t the first time he hasn’t hustled in a game – so whispers about this are already out there. For him to do it now when he’s really under the microscope…just makes things all the more tough on the Orioles.
But there is one slight flip side to this. Would Orioles fans, many of whom boo’d Machado as he walked off the field, rather he run full throttle to first base, get called safe, and pull up lame with a torn ACL? He’d obviously be untradable at that point, and quite honestly it would set the Orioles back years in terms of prospects for their farm system.
There has to be a happy medium. I would totally agree that running full throttle on what was a routine ground ball double-play would have been dumb – and for reasons stated above. However it’s not unreasonable to expect a player to run out of the box at half or three-quarter speed. Or to run out of the box at all. I can’t tell you what his response will be, but it should be interesting.
And that brings us to the O’Day situation in the eighth inning. With a runner on first, Segura laid down the aforementioned bunt and O’Day injured his hamstring trying to field it – forcing him from the game. Seager would later come back up, and smack a two-RBI single to win it 3-2 for Seattle.
The Orioles were decimated by injuries – today. Before the game they had to send Dylan Bundy to the DL with a sprained ankle, which occurred while he was running the bases in Atlanta over the weekend. (I’m still not a fan of the DH, but that’s another story for another day.) After the game they announced that he would be joined on the DL by Craig Gentry, who was hit in the ribs over the weekend. And now presumably O’Day.
You never know why injuries occur, and you can never really blame anyone for them. They just happen. However the O’Day thing makes me wonder if in fact there isn’t a correlation with the balk call last night. While Stu Scheurwater wasn’t calling balls and strikes last night, he was still on the field and perfectly capable of calling O’Day for another phantom balk. Is it not possible that O’Day tinkered with his delivery to avoid that, causing him to pull up lame?
I’m not a doctor, but I do know that injuries can occur for reasons like that. My personal opinion was that O’Day didn’t balk last night. If one umpire is the only guy who’s seeing the “transgression,” odds are he isn’t the only one who’s right.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Orioles had a run wiped off the board early when Schoop was ruled out at home plate. He was initially ruled safe, but Seattle challenged. Replays seemed to at best confirm the call of safe, as it didn’t appear that the catcher tagged him. But at worst, there didn’t appear to be evidence to overturn the call on the field. In what ended up being a one-run game, that’s a call that to me shouldn’t have been overturned against the Orioles.