Baltimore Orioles: Death by 1,000 paper cuts

Tonight was supposed to be an off night for the Baltimore Orioles. However Philadelphia trekked into town for a one-shot makeup game for a previously rained out affair. Kevin Gausman got the start, and he labored through five rough innings. Gausman’s line: 5.0 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 K.

Of the five runs that were charged to Gausman and the five runs they scored overall in the game, I’m not sure that any of them (save perhaps for a solo homer) didn’t come off of or after a ball that was squared up. The Orioles were dipped and dunked to death, bled by 1,000 paper cuts, and chiseled to death. One the flip side, the Birds consistently square balls up and hit them into the outfield – only to find fielders.

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead on a soft bloop RBI-single by Santana in the third inning. Later in the inning Williams would ground into a force out which scored a run, and the O’s trailed 2-0. And Alfaro’s two-RBI double in the fourth would give Philadelphia a 4-0 lead. Toss in a solo homer two innings later the next time Alfaro came up to bat, and the Birds had dug themselves a 5-0 hole.

However the O’s got their bats going in the sixth. Manny Machado‘s RBI-single got them on the board, cutting the Philadelphia lead to to 5-1. Trey Mancini would cut the lead to 5-3 in the seventh with a two-run homer, followed by a solo shot by Jace Peterson. However while a valiant effort to come back, the Birds wouldn’t get any closer and fell 5-4. For what it’s worth, Philadelphia also swept the season series with the Birds with this win. The two teams won’t face each other again until the 2021 season – unless of course you count Grapefruit League play next spring.

I’ve had fans tweet and comment on the site how I always throw in that opposing teams score on softly hit balls. The fact is that a hit’s a hit, no matter how you get it. And whether you get aboard with a hit, a hit batsman, a walk, or an error, a base runner’s a base runner. One way or the other, teams are getting them on and getting them in against the Orioles.

The Orioles as I said square up a lot of balls. They’re just hit right to outfielders. Opposing teams seem to have this knack of hitting the ball so softly that it ends up as a hit against the Orioles. And from the Birds’ perspective, it has to be frustrating to see and experience. You’re in position and placed perfectly in accordance with the spray charts, and the guy eases up on the bat just enough to dump it right in front of you. There’s no rhyme or reason to how or why it happens. It just does. And it happens a lot to the Orioles.

The Birds will welcome the Texas Rangers into Camden Yards tomorrow night for a weekend series – the final set before the all-star break. Alex Cobb gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Cole Hamels. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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