Baltimore Orioles: Missing the eye of the tiger?

The Baltimore Orioles were unable to continue their modest two-game winning streak this evening behind starter Tom Eshelman. Boston best him, and all who came in behind him around big time. Eshelman’s line: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 9 R (5 earned), 3 BB, 3 K.

Boston took a 5-0 lead in the second and third on a sequence that included homers by Bradley and Devers. However the good news is that the Orioles battled back. Trey Mancini smacked an RBI-double in the last of the third which got the Orioles on the board and cut Boston’s lead to 5-1. Mancini would later score on Renato Nunez‘s three-run homer.

For at least awhile, it appeared that the Birds might not look back. Chris Davis would tie the score up at five later in that third inning with an RBI-single. But then the top of the fourth came about. Boston our eight runs on the board in total, effectively ending the competitive part of the game. When the smoke cleared after that fourth inning, the Orioles trailed 13-5.

Boston would like three more runs on in the fifth, and Anthony Santander and Boston’s Leon would add solo homers as well which ran the score (and the final) to 17-6. However something which occurred in that fifth inning showed one of the differences between Boston and the Orioles. The question is whether or not it’s something about which to be concerned.

Bogaerts hit what appeared to be a sac fly-RBI. However replays showed that Anthony Santander might have trapped the ball in center field. Boston questioned the call, and it was changed. Brandon Hyde tried to plead with the umpire that they couldn’t just huddle up and decide to change the call on the field / they had to review it. However the call was changed, and Hyde then had to burn a challenge, which he lost.

My personal opinion was that it was semi-inappropriate (with respect to the game’s unwritten codes) for Boston to question that with such a big lead. Never mind the fact that in reality it should have been Boston using a challenge. One inning later, the Orioles led off the inning with a HBP of Hernandez. However replays clearly showed that the ball hit the knob of the bat.

The Orioles of course couldn’t challenge that given the fact that they had already lost a challenge. However Hyde could have asked the umpires to look at the play on their own accord. Managers do that all the time, and it seems that more often than not the umpires agree to do it.

However again, it seems that the score dictated that one wouldn’t do that. Is it really worth it in a situation when the game’s already out of hand? Is that the look that teams want? Scrimping for base runners that in essence are meaningless given the score?

However this may well illustrate something. Boston flat out didn’t care about how they came across l, or what was appropriate given the score. They saw that base runner as a potential run. And they want to get all the runs they can, all other things be damned.

So…do the Orioles not have the eye of the tiger? Plenty of people tell me that, and they would probably look at this scenario as an illustration of their point. That same group would point at the fact that Boston seemed to come out of the gate ticked off tonight. And if anything, the fact that the Orioles tied the game ticked them off even worse. Never minding of course the fact that the O’s came back.

The series and the home stand conclude tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Asher Wojchiekowski gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Andrew Cashner. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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