Former Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter used to harp on the old saying that some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug (which obviously gets squished). The Orioles today we’re definitely the bug; after dropping the first game of a twin-bill, Alex Cobb and the Birds fell 16-7 in the nightcap. Cobb’s line: 2.2 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 0 BB, 2 K.
If there’s a silver lining for Cobb, it would be that he didn’t walk anyone. He was pitching-to-contact in the strike zone, and Minnesota hitters were making contact. And with that, the balls were traveling far.
Cruz and Cron homered in the first, with Cruz’s being of the two-run variety. In fact, most of the homers hit in this game were two-run shots. Following a second inning Garver RBI-double, Rosario would follow up in the third with his third home run of the day (he of course smacked two in the first game), and the O’s trailed 6-0.
And it only snowballed from there. Even former Oriole Jonathan Schoop got into the act with a two-run homer. Renato Nunez would ensure that the O’s weren’t shut out in the fourth, smacking a two-run homer of his own. Hanser Alberto would add a two-run shot of his own in the sixth – the first homer of his career. The Birds would also score three runs in the eighth, including a second Renato Nunez homer.
It’s worth taking an opportunity to remind fans after this one that the current regime of GM Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde have been up front with the Orioles’ fan base about how tough of a process this is. As has ownership. These types of games are going to happen. They already have, and they probably will so again this year.
One thing that remains of interest to me is that many of the homers and other RBI occurred with two strikes. That’s been happening all season, and quite frankly even dating back to last year. It makes you wonder if Oriole pitchers aren’t just a bit too predictable at times. In fact, I often call pitches myself in my head – and I find that I’m correct more often than not.
Ultimately you have to “keep grinding” (another Buckism). If you allow yourself to become an automatic win for teams, you will be. And I don’t think that to this point the Orioles have done that. They’ve battled in games and played until the end. Now granted it’s tough to battle and keep your head in the game when you’re getting your brains beaten in. But ultimately as I said, you have to keep grinding.
An otherwise lackluster game did have one exciting moment. The O’s called up RHP Branden Kline to the major leagues from Norfolk – as their 26th man for the doubleheader. Kline sent Minnesota down 1-2-3 in the seventh. Kline would give up two solo homers in the eighth, but don’t let that get in the way of what’s ultimately a great story. For the record, Kline’s the 27th Maryland native to play for the O’s.
Kline is a Frederick, MD native, and he grew up an Orioles fan. He missed most of three seasons following Tommy John surgery, and battled hard to make it back to the point that he was in a position to come to the big leagues. That combined with being in the big leagues with his hometown team (which he grew up watching) and in the park where he had attended games his entire life…needless to say it was a special moment. It’s also a reminder of how cool baseball can be.