Baltimore Orioles: Is baseball logic biting the Birds?

The Baltimore Orioles couldn’t stay out of the big inning last night against Texas. Namely, the big inning was the second inning, which in fact basically ended the game. Andrew Cashner gave up seven runs – again, ending the competitive portion of the night. Cashner’s line: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 10 R, 3 BB, 1 K. Cashner was pitching-to-contact; and the Texas hitters certainly were making contact.

The O’s actually had an early lead when Mark Trumbo grounded out to yield a run in the first inning. However Profar’s three-run homer in the last of the first gave Texas the lead for good. Then came the second inning – where Texas put seven runs on the board. if you’re going to win games, that’s not a good way to do it. And unfortunately, there will probably be more games like this during the rebuilding process.

The third and fourth innings brought three more Texas runs, as the hits with runners in scoring position just kept coming. It’s tough to come back from 13-1 down. But to their credit, the Orioles tried. Trumbo smacked a two-run homer in the fifth. One inning later the Birds also got a solo shot off the bat of Caleb Joseph. Granted however, it didn’t help matters when Texas decided to put four more runs on the board in the wake of that.

The O’s would round out the night with an RBI-single by Chris Davis, and a two-run homer by Trey Mancini. When the game ended, the score was an ugly 17-8. The sad part is that if you remove the seven-run second inning, all things being equal the O’s still lose this game by two.

Obviously the pitching itself wasn’t up to snuff last night – both Cashner and subsequent relievers. However there was one play that really struck me about this game – Profar’s RBI-single in that big second inning. Let me preface this by saying that the Orioles are a pretty by the book team. And apparently that’s fairly well known across the league.

In the aforementioned sequence, Cashner threw a low-and-away curve ball to Profar on an 0-2 count. Incidentally there were also two outs. Traditionally, teams will in essence waste a pitch on an 0-2 count because the pitcher’s already ahead and so forth. Why not try to get the guy to chase a pitch out of the zone as opposed to throwing a pitch directly in the zone?

In effect, you’re trying to outdo the hitter. The problem here is that Profar seemed to know that low-and-away curve was coming. And for the record, Cashner didn’t throw a bad curve ball. But Profar seemed ready and willing to go down and get it. And he clubbed it into the outfield for an RBI-single.

I’m not accusing Texas of stealing signs. What I’m saying is that the book on the Orioles is that they’re by the book. In trying to outdo the hitter at that moment, Cashner and the Orioles were outdone themselves because the hitter anticipated that they were going to throw a pitch exactly where they did. And ironically, had Cashner thrown a fastball right down broadway on that pitch, it would have been strike three.

The sad thing is that the manner in which the Orioles do things (in this regard) is old school baseball logic. But it’s almost biting them in the behind at times. Again, because if you want to beat the Orioles, just read the book. For what it’s worth, the Orioles became the latest team to use a position player as a pitcher last night. Danny Valencia struck out a batter to end the eight.

The series continues this evening in Texas. David Hess gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Ariel Jurado. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

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