Prior to beginning a rebuilding process just recently, the Baltimore Orioles were a power-hitting club. In fact, that’s what many people’s issue was with the Birds – all braun, which in essence failed them this year. I personally believe that once the rebuild is complete, the Birds will still be a power-hitting club; it’s the way or the world in the AL East. But Mark Trumbo‘s effort indicated today that even in the midst of the rebuild, not all power is lost.
Yefry Ramirez got the start in the Texas finale this afternoon, and struggled from the beginning. Ramirez’s line: 1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 BB, 1 K. Ramirez however owned his struggles after the game, through his interpreter (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to command the strike zone today, and when you’re unable to command the strike zone bad things happen throughout the game. Very happy for each one of my teammates. I’m always very happy when they do well, and the most important thing was we were able to win the game today.
Trumbo got things started in the first inning in a very non-power manner: an RBI-single to give the Birds a 1-0 lead (Trumbo was thrown out at second trying to extend it into a double). However Texas came right back, informing everyone that it was going to be a long day. Chirinos’ two-RBI single gave them the lead at 2-1.
But in what ended up being a motif for the day, the O’s battled back further. Austin Wynns, with his parents in attendance, offered a three-run homer in the second inning to give the Orioles the lead back. However Texas plated three runs in the last of the second, chasing Ramirez, and giving them a 5-4 lead.
Luckily for the Orioles, Trumbo came back up in the third. And with a runner on he smacked a two-run home run to give the O’s the lead back for good. Two innings later in the fifth, Jonathan Villar hit his first home run as an Oriole, this one a solo shot. And just for good measure, Trumbo duplicated his earlier feat with another two-run shot in the seventh. While Texas plated another run in the eighth, that put the Orioles over-the-top in a 9-6 win.
When rebuilding it’s important to have veterans such as a Mark Trumbo or Jonathan Villar in the mix. You’re still playing games that people are paying money to come and see, and you certainly want to try your best to be as competitive as possible. However guys like these also show younger players what it means to be a big leaguer – both on and off the field.
As an example, the Orioles announced after the game that Trumbo had fluid drained from his knee before the game. That’s something that might keep some players out of the lineup. But Trumbo played through it. It’s things as such which typify what it means to be a professional athlete. When the team needs a boost, you play hurt if need be (within reason, obviously).
The Orioles now head to Tampa, where they’ll have a day off tomorrow. They’ll open a three-game set at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night.