Baltimore Orioles: Did the Birds get hoodwinked?

You really have to tip your cap to Baltimore Orioles’ starter Gabriel Ynoa. He pitched a gem of a ballgame in game two of a doubleheader this evening at Tropicana Field, more than putting his team in a position to win the game. Ynoa’s line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

In a nutshell and on paper, the game result came down to two plays. Meadows smacked a solo homer in the last of the fourth, and Garcia’s RBI-single in the seventh gave Tampa a 2-0 lead – which was the final. So that’s it, right? Nothing more to see here? Yeah, right.

Chris Davis doubled down the left field line to start the third inning. Before I go any further I want to mention that regardless of his struggles, Davis has always been a decent opposite-field hitter. And we saw it this evening.

That brought Richie Martin to the plate, and he produced a swinging bunt on the left side of the infield. Following an errant throw, Davis scores and Martin ended up at third base with nobody out. Great way to begin the scoring in game two of a doubleheader, especially after winning game one. Am I right?!

No folks, I’m wrong. After the play was over the umpires huddled up and somehow came to the decision that Martin had run inside the base line, and ruled it interference. Despite the errant throw, and despite the fact that Martin never crossed the line, he was ruled out. Davis was sent back to second base, and the run taken off the board.

To further compound things, Jonathan Villar smacked a double in the next at-bat. Davis got a poor read, and stopped at third base. Villar poorly read Davis, and tried to advance to third – resulting in a rundown and Villar being tagged out. The Orioles should have held a 2-0 lead there, however they came away with nothing.

Much later in the game Trey Mancini was called out on a check swing (to end the eighth). Mancini thought he checked in time, as did manager Brandon Hyde, who continued the argument between innings. I’m not sure if it was after he kicked dirt on home plate or before, but Hyde was eventually ejected.

Hyde admitted when asked after the game that he may have brought up the bizarre call in the third inning involving Davis and Martin when he went out to argue for Mancini. Here would be my issue with that call if I were a manager: it wasn’t made until AFTER the play. If you’re going to make a controversial call as such, make it in the moment.

In this case, the umpires all looked confused as they huddled up after the play to discuss it. That almost gave the semblance of them having to call something to take the run off the board. Furthermore the call came from the third base umpire – not the ump at home plate, who’s call rightfully it should be. How could the guy at third see who was in the base lines?

Obviously the Villar play has nothing to with any controversial calls. That was the result of bad reads by Davis and Villar. However it added to the frustration of the Orioles in general. The perception for much of the season has been that he opponent always seems to get the benefit of the doubt. The O’s are hoping at some point that that the pendulum ticks back their way.

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