You have to feel badly for the Baltimore Orioles, and especially reliever Cody Carroll. The Birds got Carroll back in the Britton trade, and he along with others are getting their first shots in the big leagues in the here and now with the O’s. In Carroll’s case, he was used last night in a high stakes situation – and he blew a save and a potential win for the O’s.
David Hess wasn’t as effective starting last night as the Orioles would have liked, however he put the team in a position to win the game. And that’s really what you want out of a starting pitcher. Hess’ line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K.
The Orioles appeared set to go early when Joey Rickard smacked a two-RBI triple in the second inning. Later on they also got an RBI-single from Austin Wynns, giving the Birds a 3-0 lead. But Tampa’s the ultimate con artist in the sense that when you think they’re down, they often have you right where they want you. They nitpick you to death before you even know it. Duffy’s RBI-double in the third cut the lead to 3-1, and Choi’s homer an inning later left it at 3-2. Bauers’ sac fly-RBI in the sixth tied the game at three.
But once again, the Orioles appeared set in a sense as Renato Nunez smacked a solo homer in the seventh inning, giving them the lead back at 4-3. The O’s then brought Carroll into the game to pitch the last of the seventh; he allowed a base hit, a stolen base, and issued two walks. The second walk came with two outs; while it loaded the bases, you’re thinking that all he needs is one more out and he’s out of the inning…
…but that wasn’t to be. Bauer’s two-RBI single gave Tampa a 5-4 lead, which turned into a 5-4 victory. It goes as a blown save and a loss for Cody Carroll, however fans need to be patient. This is part of the rebuilding process, and it’s part of learning at this level. Mananger Buck Showalter said as much regarding Carroll after the game (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
His command. It’s a young guy finding his way, a couple steps forward, a step back. He’ll learn from it. He’s got a good arm. I really like his competitiveness. I don’t know. Got to come up with a better expression than ‘not scared.’ But he’s a confident guy. He’ll learn from it. I expect him to be better the next time out. I try to keep in mind – and I think we all should – that these guys are making major league debuts and kind of seeing things for the first time. So, I try to keep that in mind. But they’re going to get a great opportunity here.
And again, fans need to keep in mind that this is all part of a process. The Orioles shied away from this process for years and years, but now it’s here. Everyone looks at Houston and the Chicago Cubs as if they’re the par for rebuilding, however at this point they forget that they were losing games in this fashion at one point.