The Baltimore Orioles turned to Keegan Akin in game one of their series in Tampa this evening. The hope was that Akin could get deep into the game, sparing the Birds’ bullpen for an additional day coming out of an off day. But while Akin didn’t go deep, he did leave the O’s in a spot to win the game. Akin’s line: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K.
I use that phrase a lot – put the team in a spot to win. And in reality that’s the goal of any starting pitcher. Akin easily could have gone deeper into the game, but the O’s opted to match up instead. However if as a starter when you leave the game the team is in a spot to win the game, you’ve done your job. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.
The Orioles finally took a 2-0 lead inning when Trey Mancini smacked a two-run homer in the last of the third. And that’s rare for the Orioles. To take the lead against and at Tampa. Usually it’s the other way around. But on this night, the O’s got on the board first.
But that was the extent of the good vibes the O’s had. Margot cut the lead in half at 2-1 on m the last of the third when he grounded into a fielder’s choice-RBI. That should have put the Orioles on notice as to protecting the lead.
Lowe gave Tampa the lead at 3-2 in the fourth with a two-run homer. Margot‘s seventh inning RBI-single would give them a 4-2 lead. And that lead turned into a 4-2 victory. The O’s pitched well enough to win. This not only in theory – but also in practice.
The series continues tomorrow at Tropicana Firld. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Rich Hill. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.