Baltimore Orioles: Letting your opponent off the hook makes for losses
There are exceptions to every rule, however playing the Baltimore Orioles can often mean you won’t be held accountable for your mistakes. Even a contender like Houston will err in a game, but this afternoon that was allowed to slide. And it’s been allowed to slide for many Oriole opponents this year. Starter Dylan Bundy put the Birds in a position to win by throwing a quality start, however it was for naught. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K.
Bundy kept Houston off the board for three innings. So you figure that as can happen it was the second time through the order and onward that they figured out Bundy. And as has been the case for the Orioles often this year, the rally started innocently enough – with a two-out single.
That brought Houston’s Alvarez to the plate, in what was his second big league at-bat (in his first big league game). And true to form in terms of how things have gone for the Orioles this year, Alvarez smacked his first big league hit and homer all in one fatal swoop. That gave Houston a 2-0 lead…which in theory would have been all they would have needed.
Two innings later in the last of the third Reddick poked an RBI-single that extended Houston’s lead to 3-0. But that was also indicative of what has to be frustrating the Orioles this year. Opponents are literally finding ways to score – no questions asked. That Reddick RBI-single was a softly hit bloop – very softly hit. The Oriole outfield happened to be back, which is why that softly-hit ball fell in for a hit.
And here’s the thing folks; you can’t control your hitting to that degree. By that, I mean you can’t really do anything to induce a bloop. You can’t swing lighter or anything along those lines. It has to hit the bat at just the right angle and in just the right manner – in short, it just happens. And it happens a lot to the Orioles.
The big part of this game however was the top of the seventh. The Orioles had the bases loaded with nobody out. Granted Houston had to change pitchers, but they allowed them off the hook. You have to recognize that they aren’t taking pity on teams when that happens. They’re trying to hold teams accountable for their mistakes. But for the most part it just isn’t happening.
And that’s one of the big contrasts between this Orioles team right now and their opponents. Other teams are getting far off of bloop singles, dropped balls, errors, etc. (Some of that the Orioles can control, but not all of it – such as the bloop singles.) One way or the other, teams are holding the Orioles accountable both for their in-game mistakes and for the things which go on in games over which they have no control – but are still to their detriment.
Yet the O’s aren’t doing the same. As I said above, they aren’t letting teams off the hook out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re trying to win games. This is all part of rebuilding, which is a process about which the Orioles have been very up front in that it’s painful to watch. But if they’re going to move on in that process, they’re going to have to learn how to hold teams accountable regularly.
Houston would tack on an insurance run in the eighth before closing the Birds out. The Orioles now head back to Baltimore for a day off tomorrow before welcoming Toronto in on Tuesday night.