Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter put out a lineup in yesterday’s series finale in Kansas City that would have made a spring training travel roster blush. And I don’t say that to be critical; Showalter had a few players that he wanted to rest due to some nagging injuries. So in effect he had no choice but to put out the lineup that he did. Granted, it didn’t help starter David Hess, who took the loss. Hess’ line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R (4 earned), 0 BB, 3 K.
As seems to be the pattern, the Orioles actually had the lead early. Jonathan Villar smacked a solo homer in the first inning. But it was downhill from there. Kansas City tied it an inning later on Escobar’s RBI-single. Regardless of who was playing in the game, the Orioles could never recover.
Kansas City would take the lead in the third, on two throwing errors by Hess and an RBI-double. Hess attempted to pick two different runners off, and ended up making errant throws. Runs scored on both plays. As has been stated several times, this Kansas City team doesn’t really take their foot off the gas. They just keep adding on; one run here and another there. When the smoke cleared after nine innings, they had swept the Orioles with a 9-1 victory.
And the aforementioned sequence where Hess committed two throwing errors is classic of how Kansas City wins games (in good seasons or bad). They kind of sit back and take whatever they can. If that’s a sac fly-RBI, they happily take it. If it’s an RBI-single or a run-scoring double-play (no RBI), they take it with joy. If you hand a breaking ball or a fastball leaks back over the middle, they’ll also hit the ball out of the ballpark.
They also bank of teams like the Orioles pushing too hard, and ending up making mistakes. You can certainly excuse David Hess’ errors in this instance because he’s still a rookie and he was trying to make something happen. But that’s a trap into which Kansas City can lull you. And seemingly they’ve done it to the Orioles time and time again since the 2014 ALCS.
This loss probably seals the fact that the O’s will get the top pick in next year’s draft. Granted the Birds could have an amazing September and Kansas City could tank, so you never know. While you never want to be in a position to have the top pick, when the draft comes around it’s certainly a nice luxury.
The Orioles will now head to the west coast to open a three-game set in Seattle. Josh Rogers gets the start for the O’s tonight, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Erasmo Ramirez. Game time is set for just after 9 PM.