Baltimore Orioles show that unwritten codes are alive and well

John Means had his struggles this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles’ series finale in Detroit. Call it a so-so start, in the wrap-around game of a four-game set. Means’ line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Means gave up a two-run homer to Mercer in the first. And in reality, Detroit never really looked back. Reyes would double in two runs in the fifth, giving Detroit a 4-0 lead.

Trey Mancini would smack his 33rd homer of the season in the top of the sixth, which cut the Detroit lead to 4-1. A half inning later in the last of the sixth Lugo would tack on a sac fly-RBI, and Austin Hays‘ RBI-single in the seventh cut the lead to 5-2. The O’s would load the bases in the ninth, however Mancini would strike out to end the game, sending the O’s down to defeat by the score of 5-2.

They split this wrap-around series with Detroit, two games a piece. Therefore Detroit still has a worse record than the Orioles, which is fine by them. Make no mistake that while some fans think it’s funny or fashionable to want to finish dead last to get the top pick in the draft, the players and coaches take issue with that attitude. You want to win as many games as you can.

This game did have a brief controversial moment towards the end. Renato Nunez was hit by a pitch on the hand in the eighth inning. Nunez would eventually exit the game, and x-rays were negative. However he didn’t appear happy about the HBP.

In the last of that eighth inning the Orioles’ Ryan Eades hit Detroit’s leadoff hitter. Both benches were warned. As it turned out, there was no further conflict in the game.

Was that a purpose pitch? Needless to say, it looked suspicious. But if it was keep in mind that it was a matter of Eades thinking that Nunez shouldn’t have been hit, and taking up for his teammate. We can argue until we’re blue in the face that the game’s unwritten rules are good or bad. But the fact is that they exist – like it or not.

People often take about players needing to just scrap these unwritten codes. I have no issue with them – the game polices itself. However there’s only one way to totally get people to stop hitting opposition players intentionally: make ANY HBP an automatic ejection. And I can guarantee you the players association would never allow that, as the fact is that sometimes players get hit. Sometimes pitches innocently have pitches get away from them. That happens, and guys would end up getting tossed for it.

So unless you’re willing to take draconian measures like that (which would never fly), baseball’s unwritten codes are here to stay. They’re part of the fabric and the present of the game – like it or not.

The Orioles now head home to open their final home stand of the season against Toronto at Camden Yards. The O’s haven’t yet named a starter, while Trent Thornton will start for Toronto. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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