The Baltimore Orioles did a bit of a number on themselves this evening. Not by what they did in the game, but by what they didn’t do. It was obvious that Texas had studied and scouted Orioles’ starter Aaron Brooks ad hoc. And the Orioles played right into the trap of not scouting their own people. Brooks’ line: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 7 R (6 earned), 1 BB, 3 K.
Brooks loaded the bases in the first inning before even recording an out. He managed to induce a comebacker, but his throw home was wide of the bag. Now the good news was that Brooks retired the final three hitters in the inning 1-2-3. The bad news was that came after an RBI-single, and a grand slam which gave Texas a 6-0 lead.
However the O’s tried to battle back. Anthony Santander‘s RBI-single in the last of the first cut the lead to 6-1. Trey Mancini would later score on a wild pitch, and Mason Williams‘ sac fly-RBI would cut the lead to 6-3. It looked like a night for the offenses.
Texas would tack on three additional runs before the game ended. Rio Ruiz would also smack a solo homer. The Birds would end up falling in this one, 9-4 – due in large part to a wild first inning.
But what happened in that first inning which causes me to talk about scouting or lack thereof? Brooks has actually been fairly solid of late in the past couple of weeks. That’s been due in large part to his changeups being so deadly. He’s really mastered the art of the changeup very well.
But the problem is that he’s gone to the well too many times. Texas obviously felt that Brooks was going to rely on his changeup early in the game; that’s probably what their scouts told them. They trusted their scouting, and it paid off with a big inning right out of the gate.
So again, would it not behoove the Orioles to in effect scour their own players? Maybe have their scouts look at games as if they were scouting another team for the O’s, but in essence to have them report on what they’re noticing about the Orioles? Because dipping into the well once too often on changeups is something that a scout would have noticed. Texas’ game plan was to expect the changeup early. Their hitters did just that, and the Orioles did their part to ensure that the changeups came in early and often.