Baltimore Orioles: Tough loss on Opening Day

Baltimore Orioles’ starting pitcherTommy Milone dominated Boston in his first ever Opening Day outing. You read that right; he dominated Boston – for about two innings. Milone’s line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

During the first two innings Milone Moses Boston hitters down. He changed speeds very effectively, and seemed to be ready for prime time. However in the third inning once the Boston hitters got a second look at him, he began to struggle.

Milone surrendered four doubles in the third inning, which gave Boston a 4-0 lead. I did find it interesting that manager Brandon Hyde opted to lift Milone. On a normal Opening Day I don’t think that would have happened given the same circumstances. But each game counts approximately 2.5 – 3 times as much as a game in a 162-game schedule. The urgency of today is much greater than it normally would be.

Boston would load the bases in the last of the fourth, and six runs later they led 10-0. They busted the game wide open. And while the O’s burned two different bullpen relievers in that fourth inning, Boston bats were still strong. Often when you wake a team up they find ways to stay hot. And Boston certainly did that tonight.

Part of the issue is that Oriole pitching allowed Boston hitters to get ahead in the count from the get-go. When you get behind in the count you’re pitching from a position of weakness. Thus you end up forced to throw a strike, and the pressure ends up on you. Especially when the bases are loaded. Allowing a Boston hitters to get ahead in the third and fourth innings tonight allowed Boston to run away with the game.

Renato Nunez would smack an RBI-double in the sixth to at least get the Orioles on the board. However Boston came right back with two more runs in the last of the sixth. And they did so once again by smacking doubles – this time off the green monster in left field.

Rio Ruiz brought the Birds to within 13-2 in the seventh as he smacked the Orioles’ first homer of the year. This one of the solo variety. It means little for the sake of this game, because you aren’t coming back from being down 13-2. But Ruiz started to hit for more power in the latter half of last season. And that appears to have continued.

The series continues tomorrow at Fenway Park. Alex Cobb gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Martin Perez. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

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