John Means have the Baltimore Orioles five incredibly solid innings this evening against Kansas City. The issue of course was that he seemingly fell apart in an abrupt manner – before the O’s could get him out. While an error certainly helped things along in that sequence, Means tired quickly. Means’ line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 earned), 2 BB, 4 K.
Again for five innings, Means looked good. And the O’s had a lead. DJ Stewart‘s RBI-double in the second inning gave them a 1-0 lead.
However a base hit and a botched fielder’s choice and an error in the top of the sixth gave Kansas City runners at the corners. Before the O’s could get someone ready in the bullpen Merrifield’s RBI-single would tie the game at one. Later in the inning Dozier’s two-RBI single gave Kansas City a 3-1 lead.
I’ve said this before but teams are holding the Orioles in account for 100% of their mistakes. Now the Orioles are in some instances starting to do the same, but if you get into games which are decided by the team that commits the fewer errors and so forth, generally a rebuilding franchise is going to lose that.
However the Orioles don’t quit. That’s certainly to their benefit. Jonathan Villar‘s solo homer in the last of the sixth cut the lead back to one. However the Orioles managed to run themselves out of that inning, with two runners being well off the bases in the end trying to advance. With two outs. Kansas City had both runners in a run-down, only needing to nail one of them. And they did.
And again, they made the Orioles pay for that. They led off the seventh with back-to-back home runs. That broke the Orioles’ back in a sense. Again, the Birds managed to run themselves out of the previous inning. And Kansas City held them to account.
But turnaround can also be fair play. As I said, the O’s are starting to do that also. Stewart would smack a run-scoring single in the last of the seventh which scored a run due in part to an error. Rio Ruiz would smack a solo homer in the last of the ninth, but it was too little too late and the O’s fell 5-4.
Those mental lapses, whether they show up in the scorecard or not, cost the Orioles the game. Think back to that unearned run in the sixth. Think back to the O’s running themselves out of that inning. If things break differently this could be a win instead of a loss.
However that’s part of rebuilding. Lesson learned, in a sense. These games will happen, and as I’ve said many times the organization all but promised fans that at the beginning. It’s a painful process. You just have to hope that if the process is administered properly it culminates in the organization being in a good spot.