Baltimore Orioles: Trey Mancini and friends ensure that big wheels keep on turning

The Baltimore Orioles are thinking about petitioning MLB to play Tampa for the rest of the season. They put up 15 runs last night, and 11 in this evening’s ballgame on Trey Mancini bobble head night behind Kevin Gausman, who gave a great starting effort. Gausman’s line: 7.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

Similar to last night, Tampa actually had an early 1-0 lead in this game – on Sucre’s first inning RBI-single. But that didn’t last long, as Mancini’s two-run homer in the second inning gave the Orioles the lead for good at 2-1. Joey Rickard followed suit with a solo shot, giving the Orioles back-to-back homers, and a 3-1 lead.

Tampa’s Kiermaier would smack a solo homer of his own in the third, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 3-2. And at that singular moment it appeared that this would be a game. That notion didn’t last long. The Birds loaded the bases with nobody out in the fourth, and Rickard’s bases-clearing double extended the Orioles’ lead to 6-2. That ended the competitive portion of the evening.

The game ballooned further and further out of control (from Tampa’s perspective at least) from there. Caleb Joseph‘s RBI-single later in that fourth inning gave the O’s a 7-2 lead, and two innings later in the sixth Rickard netted the Birds an additional run with an RBI-double. Add in another RBI-single by Joseph, an RBI-double by Adam Jones, and a sac fly-RBI by Mark Trumbo, and when the smoke cleared the O’s had themselves an 11-2 victory over Tampa.

It’s either been feast or famine for this team thus far in 2018 – and in saying that, I mean mostly famine. So this has been a special two games for the Orioles, who have tried in vain to date to re-capture the form they showed from 2012-2016 or so. But needless to say, for at least two nights in July we saw the Orioles of old.

I think perhaps the biggest thing was that the O’s came back this evening after a big win on Friday night and won again. Not only that, but they won with ease once again. This is a team that’s struggled to put back-to-back wins or even good performances together this year. But they did it tonight.

I’m not one who buys into the idea that players have struggled on the field because of uncertainty regarding the direction of the franchise. It just seems to me that players are paid to play regardless of anything else. The ownership/leadership issues should bear no relevance to how hard guys play on the field.

However you’d be remiss not to recognize that since the Machado trade when the Orioles committed to a rebuild, there’s been a skip in guys’ steps once again. And I’m a guy who likes to know the reasons for things, or at least knowing that reasons exist. So it kind of baffles my mind that something like that could have been such a big deal. But it’s a lot easier to justify than by saying it’s mere coincidence that the team is playing slightly better.

The series with Tampa concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Orioles, and Tampa hasn’t yet announced a starter. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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