Despite pitching only five innings, Dylan Bundy did exactly what the Baltimore Orioles wanted last night. This in the sense that he put the Birds in a position to win the game. And as I’ve said many times and about many different teams and starters, a starting pitcher’s job is to put his team in a position to win the game. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K.
The Birds actually jumped out in front early in this one. Rio Ruiz‘s RBI-single in the first inning gave the O’s a 1-0 lead. Two innings later they doubled the lead on Renato Nunez‘s RBI-single. (He would take second on the throw.)
And on that note, that run should be partially attributed to Dwight Smith Jr., who scored it. Smith got aboard on what became a single in the third inning. (I put it like that because he ran out a routine grounder to second, was ruled out, and then awarded a base hit upon the play being overturned on replay.) He would then proceed to steal second base – allowing him to score on Nunez’s base hit.
However Tampa wasn’t to be outdone. Diaz’s sac fly-RBI in the fourth cut the lead in half. That didn’t feel like that big a deal, because the Orioles recorded an out. However later in the inning Garcia smacked a two-run homer, giving Tampa a 3-2 lead. Garcia would also provide Tampa with an insurance run with an eighth inning RBI-single.
Bundy dominated Tampa through the first three innings. Tampa didn’t exactly start scoring runs in buckets after that, however their hitters adjusted. Second time through the order, they were almost waiting for Bundy.
And the inverse scenario is also true. The Orioles were getting guys on base and driving them in the first time through the order. After that, Tampa pitchers seemed to adapt. The Orioles didn’t have a hit after the fourth inning.
And unfortunately that’s what Tampa can do to you. Their hitters refuse to give in under any circumstances, which wears down your pitching. And again, the inverse is also true. Their pitching seemingly refuses to give in, and ultimately your hitters seemingly get worn out. I can’t tell you why or how that happens, it just does when you play Tampa.
The series continues tomorrow night at Tropicana Field. David Hess gets the start for the O’s, with Tampa’s starter TBD. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.