The Baltimore Orioles got a halfway decent start out of Dylan Bundy this afternoon. He was done in after only five innings due to a high pitch count, which cam as a result of some extended at-bats. In saying that I mean guys fouling off multiple pitches. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R (2 earned), 2 BB, 8 K.
This game was a pitcher’s duel at first, as it was scoreless through five innings. However in the top of the sixth Bogaerts smacked an RBI-double, and Holt an RBI-single, to give Boston a 2-0 lead. Holt would later score on an E6, and the Birds trailed 3-0.
The O’s would come back however in the bottom of that inning. Renato Nunez smacked an RBI-double, and Jonathan Villar added a sac fly-RBI. However that’s as close as the O’s were able to get. Martinez would add a solo homer in the seventh, and Boston would also add three runs in the top of the ninth to take the game 7-2.
The worst part about playing Boston is that as good as they are, they’re also smart. They know that the Orioles are scrapping, and doing everything in their power to win games. That can often lead to pushing too hard. Boston knows that.
They know that the Orioles are going to play shifts on their players. They had also seen earlier in the game and on tape that sometimes Jonathan Villar sometimes leaves his spot at second slightly early when the ball’s in play. So Boston puts on a hit-and-run, and hits the ball right where Villar would have been.
Coincidentally, this other example also involves Jonathan Villar – not to beat up too much on him. Late in the game Boston had him at a 1-2 count. Normally that’s a count in which a pitcher’s going to bury a pitch in the dirt hoping that the hitter will chase. Instead of the slider in the dirt or something along those lines, Villar got a high fastball.
Now to his credit, Villar didn’t bite. However that’s a pitcher and a pitching staff who knows that they’re playing a team that’s pushing. And the Orioles can’t allow teams to see that, as it can and will be used against them.
Part of why Boston was able to tack on three late runs was because they put pressure on the Orioles. The Orioles already had enough self-inflicted pressure on them. And they eventually folded.
The series concludes tomorrow at Camden Yards. John Means gets the call for the Birds, and Boston is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.