Ty Blach learned a valuable lesson in his start last night for the Baltimore Orioles. One bad inning against an opportunist team such as Tampa (who’s in contention as it is) will do you in. In Blach’s case, it’ll also get you sent out to the minors after the game. But I digress. Blach’s line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 2 K.
Blach threw 15 pitches in the first inning. And 47 in the second. That obviously did him in. Now personally I feel that only three of those seven runs should have been earned, and I’ll get to that in a moment. But the end result is still the same.
Kiermaier got Tampa going in that second inning with an RBI-double against the shift. I’m sometimes asked why I sometimes point out that a hit or RBI comes against the shift. My personal view is that these shifts are being played too often in baseball. So when I see a play where a guy gets a hit to a spot where a player would have been had they not been shifted, I take notice.
That Kiermaier hit would have been right to the third baseman had the defense been straightaway. Now it was also very softly hit so it still might have been a hit. But would a run have scored? Debatable, I suppose.
Zunino’s two-RBI single later in the inning gave Tampa a 3-0 lead. Later in the inning Pham hit what I thought was a routine grounder to Hanser Alberto at second base. Alberto dropped the ball, and everyone was safe. That brought Meadows to the plate with the bases loaded, and his grand slam gave Tampa a 7-0 lead.
we may be arguing semantics just a bit. However I would argue that the four runs from the grand slam should be unearned. Again, my personal view was that the grounder to Alberto was fairly routine. I suppose it may have been semi-slowly hit (or something along those lines), which is why a hit was credited to Pham.
But if that’s ruled a routine play, given that there were two outs any runs coming after that play would be considered unearned. Tampa could have scored five more runs in the inning, and they would have been unearned. Idea being that the inning would have been over if not for the error. At the end of the day it really only affects the pitcher’s ERA. However I thought those runs should have been unearned.
Jonathan Villar‘s solo homer in the eighth inning would get the O’s on the board. However this game shows the importance of starting pitching. Blach had one bad inning. And in reality it did the Orioles in. Those seven runs in the second were the only runs Tampa scored. That one inning literally cost the Orioles the game.
The series with Tampa continues this evening at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jose Alvarado. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.