In his second career big league start, Josh Rogers turned in another decent performance for the Baltimore Orioles: Rogers’ line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K. However Rogers fell victim to what amounts to an age-old problem for Orioles’ starters this year. He didn’t get the run support he needed to win.
When you give up two runs, you’ve done your job. You’ve put your team in a position to win. The issue is that your team only netted one run for you. That makes it tough. And as has been documented here all season and as I just said above, Orioles’ starters have dealt with this all season. It seems that either the pitching shows up and the bats are quiet, or the inverse. It’s been tough to see it all come together at once.
Jonathan Villar gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the fourth with a solo home run which he bent around the right field foul pole. Seattle would tie the game in the bottom of the inning on Healy’s RBI-single. However we also saw a bright spot for the future on that play. Cedric Mullins relayed the ball back into the infield, and Healy was thrown out trying to extend that single into a double.
One inning later Gordon would give Seattle a 2-1 lead on a sac fly-RBI. And that was the game. This wasn’t a game that netted either team a lot of opportunities. However Seattle took advantage of theirs. The Orioles did not. Another storyline from the 2018 season for the O’s.
Buck Showalter said after the game that he was a fan of Rogers’ approach to pitching, and that he saw improvement in some of his secondary pitchers over his first outing (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
I thought his secondary stuff was better. Roger (McDowell) and I were talking about it. You’ve got a little crispness in the air finally. Guys, pitchers especially, it kind of freshens up their arms. Yac’s velocity was up a little bit from as a starter. He had three days’ off and I wanted to get him out there and not let him sit around too long.
Josh was good. I love his presentation, his aggressiveness and the way he comes down the hill at people. But I thought his command was a lot better. Not so much command, but just his usefulness of some secondary pitches that he didn’t show as much the first time.
The aforementioned play with Mullins relaying the ball to nail a runner at second base isn’t something that shows up on the scorecard, but it’s huge. If the rebuild is successful and in a few years’ time the Birds are playing meaningful games at this point in the season, that’s the type of thing that can propel a team onward. Hitting the cutoff man and doing so with precision isn’t something that’s always happened. It sounds simple enough, but in practice it appears to be challenging.