Alex Cobb gave the Baltimore Orioles a quality start last night in Philadelphia. Heck, he even registered a base hit (playing by National League rules, of course). And it was no cheapie; Cobb made solid contact on a pitch and grounded it up the middle. Yet he had nothing to show for it but a loss and a pat on the back for a quality start. Cobb’s line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 K.
Before the game started however it appeared that either the Orioles or Philadelphia had angered the baseball God’s, as one of the worst thunderstorms I’ve ever seen descended on south Philly. No exaggeration, some of the lightning bolts sounded like they were hitting right behind the grandstand. As Doc Brown said in Back to the Future II, it was “one hell of a storm!”
So the game began with a 90 minute rain delay, but when it did start Mark Trumbo led off the second inning with a solo home run to give the Birds a 1-0 lead. In theory Trumbo’s sudden resurgence is great news for the Orioles. However if there’s nobody on base ahead of him, it’s almost superfluous. Solo home runs don’t beat you, so in turn they don’t win games for you. Had that homer occurred in the first inning and a couple of runners were already on base, the Orioles would have really been in business.
Philadelphia led off the home half of the third with a base hit, and the starting pitcher Eflin actually bunted the runner over the first base in a typical National League-type move. Only that it surprised me to see them doing it in the third inning, however with a steady rain still falling there was question as to whether or not the teams would get a full game in. Following a walk, Hoskins’ RBI-double gave Philadephia the lead at 2-1.
However one inning later it was Trumbo again coming through for the Birds. His bloop RBI-single to right tied the game at two for the Birds, who at least were going to make a game of it. But one inning later an RBI-triple by Knapp gave Philadephia a 3-2 lead, which they never relinquished.
The O’s however threatened in the top of the eighth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Chris Davis grounded a ball to third, which Philadelphia third baseman Franco miraculously fielded. And I say that because it was in fact a deep ball in the hole, and it took a gold glove play to get to it. Franco proceeded to throw Davis out, although Davis hustled down the line – big time. And that’s to Davis’ credit, as he hasn’t ceased to play hard or to try. Say what you will about his prowess at the plate, but the effort is there in games.
The Orioles challenged the call, citing that the first baseman didn’t hold the bag. According to the umpire in New York, the replay was inconclusive. It did appear that the cleat was off the bag well before Davis crossed, and that it never quite made it back on. Buck Showalter used the term snakebit to describe that play (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
You’re just snakebit. I thought Chris (Davis) had some good at-bats tonight and hung in there and carved the ball the other way. It was a little offline at first. It’ll go down as a real good play by their first baseman.
If you read between the lines there, he’s calling the umpiring crew out. In fact, it was a great play by the third baseman. The first baseman appeared to come off the bag, however according to New York there wasn’t enough visual evidence to overturn the call on the field.
On a side note, the Orioles deactivated outfielder Colby Rasmus and put him on the restricted list. Earlier in the day Rasmus alerted Buck Showalter that he was heading home and wanted to “discontinue playing.” Showalter was very poignant in saying that there were personal factors involved in Rasmus’ decision – so fans shouldn’t rush to judgement in saying things such as Rasmus quit on the team, or anything like that. These things do happen, but once again they seem to have happened to the Orioles – who as a result of this and not being able to get someone to Citizens Bank Park in time for the game, had to play with only 24 roster spots last night.