I’m not going to lie; I feel somewhat badly for the Baltimore Orioles’ Tim Beckham. While Manny Machado only spent half a season as the Orioles’ shortstop, Beckham’s going to now be under the microscope for the rest of the season as the guy who took over for Machado. While Beckham’s natural position is short, there does have to be a bit of a learning curve after playing third base for the first half of the season. We saw that curve play out last night.
Dylan Bundy struggled the second time through the lineup last night, and eventually Toronto ended up getting out to a big lead. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K. And one issue that Oriole pitching has had all year is that they’ve been fairly good the first time through the order – and in some cases the second time. However the second or third time through the order opposing teams seem to figure them out. There were times where it almost looked as if Toronto hitters knew exactly what was coming – and where.
Toronto took a 1-0 lead on Diaz’s solo homer in the third. However Tim Beckham, learning curve at short and all, gave the O’s the lead in the fifth with a two-run homer. But that coincided with Toronto figuring Bundy out. In the bottom of the inning their back-to-back homers immediately gave them the lead back. A sac fly and an RBI-double later, and Toronto led 5-2. Two innings later they extended their lead to 7-2 on an RBI-triple and an RBI-single.
At 7-2 in the seventh inning, you figure that the competitive portion of the game was over. However we did see a lot of fight in these Birds, perhaps trying to prove that they can still be a force in games, even without Manny Machado. Detractors will look at it from the perspective that they got back into the game via the long ball. However the fact is that Oriole bats simply came alive. That hasn’t always happened this year.
Chris Davis smacked a two-run homer in the eighth, bringing the O’s to within 7-4. The Birds would head to the ninth down by three, and Toronto allowed a run to score on a wild pitch, cutting it to 7-5. The O’s then took Toronto’s fifth inning back-to-back homers and decided to match them, with Joseph and Schoop doing the same. Both were solo shots, but combined they tied the game. While this story doesn’t have the greatest of endings for Orioles fans, the Birds were nothing if not clutch when they needed to be at the plate last night.
Martin got aboard with a single in the tenth. I would submit however that it shouldn’t have been a single – it should have been an error. It looked to be a fairly routine play as he grounded to Beckham at short. It was only due to Beckham’s errant throw to first base that Martin reached safely. Whether that’s a hit or an error, it looked to be a fairly routine play. Again, there has to be a learning curve for Beckham, who was playing shortstop for the first time this year.
To his credit, Beckham said after the game that it was a play that needed to be made every time. He had more time than he though, which is why he rushed the throw. However that led to a walk, and Diaz then smacked a single through the infield which was also misplayed somewhat by Beckham, ending the game and giving Toronto an 8-7 walk off win.
It’s unfair to beat up on Tim Beckham too much, as again he hasn’t played shortstop this year. Furthermore he spent all of spring training preparing to be the team’s starting third baseman. So while that throw on the Martin single was a fairly routine play (apparently in the eye of everyone but the official scorer), those things are in fact going to happen in a scenario like this. Tough pill to swallow, especially given the comeback, however you have to be patient when someone moves postions mid-season.