In the nightcap of yesterday’s doubleheader, the Baltimore Orioles paid dearly for mistakes. Chris Davis made a base running gaffe (possibly twice over) early in the game, which cost the Orioles a run. And later on, we saw a fairly inventive strike zone by the home plate umpire that could have helped squash an Oriole rally.
Yefry Ramirez got the start, and delivered another outing with mixed results. Ramirez’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K. Not a horrible outing, however the Orioles seems to be set on Ramirez only pitching five innings or so. Either that, or that’s all Ramirez is capable of pitching at this point.
Renato Nunez‘s RBI-double in the last of the second gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. One inning later the O’s would extend that lead to 2-0 on Trey Mancini‘s RBI-single. However it was what occurred in the wake of that Nunez double in the second that was an issue. Later in the inning with Davis on third and nobody out, Mullins grounded out in the infield. The infield was back, which indicated that Boston was giving up a run in favor of an out.
Davis could have and would have scored on that play. But…he froze at third base. And to top it off, the next hitter popped out in foul territory. Davis possibly could have tagged up and scored from third with one out. But again…he froze at third base. The Orioles should have netted an extra run in some manner during that sequence.
And in typical fashion, Boston made the Orioles pay. Martinez smacked a solo homer in the fourth, and Butler tied it in the fifth with a sac fly-RBI. Boston would later take a 3-2 lead in the sixth on a wild pitch.
However Joey Rickard gave the Orioles the lead back in the last of the sixth with a solo homer. But Boston answered – Martinez smacked his second homer of the game in the eighth, this one of the two-run variety. And they added on, thanks to Holt’s ninth inning RBI-single. The Birds mounted a late rally that included a Mancini ninth inning solo homer, but it was too little too late. The Birds fell 6-4.
The O’s appeared poised to rally in the last of the eighth. They had two outs and two runners in scoring position. Jace Peterson was at the plate; he took a 2-1 pitch that looked to be about a foot off the plate…and it was called strike two. Peterson and the entire Orioles’ bench seemed fazed by that. The next pitch (on 2-2) was to the exact same spot, and Peterson swung and missed, ending the inning.
That one strike call changed the potential of the inning. Peterson went from being in control of the at-bat, to in essence being on the ropes. If you combine the potential of what could have occurred there with the missed opportunities to score in the second, the outcome of this game could have been very different. Buck Showalter addressed Chris Davis’ base running after the game (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
Yeah, Chris knows that. I was trying to get an explanation from Bobby (Dickerson. I don’t know if they thought the pitcher was going to cut the ball off. Great job by Cedric. What a great at-bat. You’re getting ready to have a man at third and one out and he executed it fine. Chris just got a bad read on it.
The other one, Bobby said that they thought it had a chance to fall and they respected Betts. In fact, some people might tell you he might have been out anyway if he tagged and went, but I don’t know. I haven’t looked at it. But Bobby said that from his perspective they felt like the ball had a chance to be fair, even though it ended up five or six feet foul. But every ball that stays in the air very long, you expect Betts to catch. But it’s a situation we’d like to score a run there. We should.